Definition of roil in English:



  • 1literary with object Make (a liquid) turbid or muddy by disturbing the sediment.

    ‘winds roil these waters’
    murky, cloudy, muddied, turbid, opaque, impure
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1no object (of a liquid) move in a turbulent, swirling manner.
      ‘the sea roiled below her’
      figurative ‘a kind of fear roiled in her’
      • ‘While again Rawsthorne doesn't go so far as to lose his head or wear his heart on his sleeve, one gets the impression of great passions roiling under a relatively calm surface.’
      • ‘The waves roil mightily, and batter and strike the ship so that they crush both sides of the hull and the planking almost shatters.’
      • ‘The core mantle boundary is a complex and dynamic area that churns and chugs as the liquid iron core roils at the bottom of the rock-like mantle.’
      • ‘The water roils around the combatants, and the sky is filled with clouds and tiny lines that intensify the sense of cataclysm.’
      • ‘On volcanically active planets like Venus, the surface roils and churns so quickly that solid crust does not have a chance to form.’
      • ‘The clouds are pink, the seas around Hook's ship surge and roil, and the fairies dance deep in the forest.’
      • ‘In the great Chaplin-versus-Keaton debate that's been roiling for decades among cinephiles, I come down firmly on the Chaplin side.’
      • ‘Below him water burbles, roils, and freezes into 300-pound blocks.’
      • ‘The North Sea roils just off the former hippie village of Monster, 40 miles southwest of Amsterdam.’
      • ‘Something of Turner's seascapes, where everything appears to be roiling, comes through.’
      • ‘Back on the ship, as the plot thickens and roils, our brave buccaneers flounder in the doldrums.’
      • ‘Beneath the veneer of landscapes, portraits and genre scenes, political rivalries roiled, and medals granted to entrants were contested hotly as matters of national pride.’
      bubble, fizz, foam, cream, lather
      View synonyms
  • 2US with object Make (someone) annoyed or irritated.

    • ‘He appears to have roiled some executives who were turned off by his hard-charging approach and overselling the merger's synergies.’
    • ‘Any religious film with violence is bound to roil some people.’
    • ‘That roiled his colleagues and, some argued, prolonged a stoppage that wiped out the World Series.’
    • ‘That comment still roils the ultra-liberal faculty at the university.’


Late 16th century: perhaps from Old French ruiler ‘mix mortar’, from late Latin regulare ‘regulate’.