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Possibly from French or Middle French rouiller (to rust, make muddy), from Old French rouil (mud, rust), from Vulgar Latin *robicula, from Latin robigo (rust, blight)


  • (UK, US) IPA(key): /ɹɔɪl/
  • (file)
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  • Rhymes: -ɔɪl


roil (third-person singular simple present roils, present participle roiling, simple past and past participle roiled)

  1. To render turbid by stirring up the dregs or sediment of
    • To roil wine, cider, etc, in casks or bottles
      2015, David Hare, The Blue Touch Paper:
      (of St Leonards in East Sussex in 1947) A sort of roiling mist seemed year-round to hold the town in its grip.
    • To roil a spring.
  2. To annoy; to make someone angry.
    • R. North
      That his friends should believe it, was what roiled him exceedingly.
  3. (intransitive) To bubble, seethe.
    • 2006, Edwin Black, chapter 2, in Internal Combustion[1]:
      Throughout the 1500s, the populace roiled over a constellation of grievances of which the forest emerged as a key focal point. The popular late Middle Ages fictional character Robin Hood, dressed in green to symbolize the forest, dodged fines for forest offenses and stole from the rich to give to the poor. But his appeal was painfully real and embodied the struggle over wood.
  4. (obsolete, intransitive) To wander; to roam.
  5. (obsolete, Britain, dialectal, intransitive) To romp.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Halliwell to this entry?)

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for roil in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)