Rhymes: -iːl

Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English whele (boil), from Old English *hwele (boil); related to Old English hwelian (to fester, ulcerate). Compare also Old English hwelca, hwylca (an inflamed swelling, pustule).


wheal (plural wheals)

  1. A small raised swelling on the skin, often itchy, caused by a blow from a whip or an insect bite etc.
    • 1676, Richard Wiseman, “[A Treatise of Tumors.] Of an Herpes”, in Severall Chirurgical Treatises, London: Printed by E. Flesher and J[ohn] Macock, for R[ichard] Royston bookseller to His Most Sacred Majesty, and B[enjamin] Took at the Ship in St. Paul's Church-yard, OCLC 228770265, page 80:
      A Perſon of Honour, of a full Body abounding with ſharp Humours, was ſeized with an Herpes on his right Leg. [] [I]t inflamed and ſwelled very much, many Wheals aroſe, and fretted one into another, with great Excoriation.


wheal (third-person singular simple present wheals, present participle whealing, simple past and past participle whealed)

  1. (uncommon) Synonym of wale.

Etymology 2Edit

A disused mine shaft at Wheal Florence

From Cornish hwel.


wheal (plural wheals)

  1. (UK, dialect, Cornwall, mining) A mine.
    • 1829, Thomas Moore, The History of Devonshire, page 528,
      The four last-mentioned mines, Wheal Crowndale, Wheal Crebor, East Liscombe, and Wheal Tamar, are on the same lode, which ranges as usual from east to west, and are included in a space of about four miles in length.
    • 2003, Peter Long, The Hidden Places of Cornwall, page 85,
      Surrounding the village are the remains ot many mine workings including the picturesque gtoup of clifftop buildings thar were once part of one of the county's best known mines - Wheal Coares.
    • 2010, Julia Bradbury, Julia Bradbury's Railway Walks, page 27,
      If you look at the map there are ‘wheals’ all over the place. There's Wheal Rose, Wheal Plenty and Wheal Busy. Back on the tramroad the industrial communities come thick and fast as you head southeast to Wheal Rose.
Usage notesEdit

Chiefly appears in the names of mines in Cornwall and Devon.

Derived termsEdit


  • wheal at OneLook Dictionary Search.