Definition of rotate in English:



  • 1Move or cause to move in a circle round an axis or centre:

    [no object] ‘the wheel continued to rotate’
    ‘a rotating drum’
    [with object] ‘the small directional side rockets rotated the craft’
    • ‘The draw from stock moves clockwise, and rotates clockwise after each race is complete.’
    • ‘The explosion left a faint neutron star at the center of the remnant, but unlike the rapidly rotating neutron star in the Crab Nebula, Cassiopeia's star is quiet and faint.’
    • ‘As the motor rotates the drive windings and the sense windings are switched.’
    • ‘Above him, a massive scale model of the solar system rotated, its sun casting a bright ray that ricocheted around the entire room.’
    • ‘The Neuson's crane is centred to the right of the operator, and rotates independently from the carrier a full 90 degrees to either side.’
    • ‘Just so you get to see this trick from all angles, the centre of the stage will rotate round slowly.’
    • ‘The sphere rotates around its axis once each 24 hours.’
    • ‘Conceived almost by chance, when a prototype suddenly produced amazing results, the machine features two patented aligned drums that rotate simultaneously but in opposite directions.’
    • ‘In helical scan recording, both the read and write heads are located on a rapidly rotating cylinder or drum.’
    • ‘In the centre of them, a three-dimensional map slowly rotated; the enemy's and their own forces clearly shown on the mountain's surface.’
    • ‘The faster the disk rotates, the faster data passes the read head and the faster it gets off the disk and into Ram for processing.’
    • ‘According to the blurb, a meteorite has hit the planet, causing it to stop rotating around its own axis.’
    • ‘The vacuum proceeds almost at random across the floor, only knowing to rotate and keep moving when it hits an object.’
    • ‘I assumed those barrels would rotate around when a round was spent, but they seemed too high-tech to be simple revolvers.’
    • ‘Beta station loomed out of the darkness, the centre spire rotating in an anti-clockwise direction.’
    • ‘The astronomers have been scanning the skies for these dark galaxies - areas of matter that rotate like galaxies, but that don't give off any light.’
    • ‘Since the barrel rotates at a steady speed, spacing pins equally round one of the circles would produce a steadily repeated reiteration of a single note.’
    • ‘Just like the fairground rides that make you sick, this mod had the familiar three rotating rings spinning around a central motherboard - a great effect!’
    • ‘The outer tube is stationary, the inner tube rotates to an open position only at the command of the cockpit.’
    • ‘Gas flames at the base provide heat but are never in direct contact with the coffee, which rotates in a drum above.’
    revolve, go round, turn, turn round, move round, spin, gyrate, wheel, whirl, twirl, swivel, circle, pirouette, pivot, reel
    View synonyms
  • 2[no object] Pass to each member of a group in a regularly recurring order:

    ‘the job of chairing the meeting rotates’
    • ‘The presidency of the Council of Ministers rotates between the member governments at six-monthly intervals.’
    • ‘Malaysia's government is nominally headed by the king whose position rotates among the nine hereditary Malay rulers every five years.’
    • ‘As players drop out, the turn to lead to the first trick continues to rotate anticlockwise, passing to the next player if the player whose turn it would have been is out.’
    • ‘Now most engineers work in teams of three, with project leadership rotating among team members.’
    • ‘Later on in the day, because the schedule rotated in order to make our lives even more confusing, I journeyed to English class for my second time.’
    • ‘The chairmanship of the group rotated through the membership.’
    • ‘Today board meetings rotate among the three locations, and design staff members travel among the offices on a project-by-project basis.’
    • ‘If all three players pass, then the deal rotates and a new hand is dealt.’
    • ‘The combined officer positions simply rotate every two years; no need for a nominating committee in this group!’
    • ‘The position of Chairperson rotates annually among the groups and the regional groups caucus regularly during the Commission's annual session.’
    • ‘In accordance with the bank's policy to rotate the position of deputy governor, Burrows will hold the position for two years.’
    • ‘The chairperson position at ICDA rotated between nation member organizations.’
    • ‘The meeting rotates between the G7 countries, and next year it will take place in France.’
    • ‘The presidency is an honorary position and rotates annually.’
    • ‘The green room leader (a position that rotates among the team members) goes through the agenda, which usually takes about 10 minutes.’
    • ‘In Orpheus, that function (which rotates regularly) is similar to that of a player-coach on a soccer team.’
    • ‘Hosting the get-together always rotated between the large mansions as each family member only had enough patience for one dinner every few weeks.’
    • ‘Meetings of the Council are held under the chairmanship of the country occupying the Presidency, which lasts for six months and rotates between the Member States.’
    • ‘The presidency of the G8 rotates between the group's member nations on an annual basis.’
    • ‘At the moment, presidency rotates among the 15 members every six months.’
    alternate, take turns, take it in turns, act in sequence, work in sequence, trade places, change, switch, interchange, exchange, swap
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1[with object] Grow (different crops) in succession on a particular piece of land to avoid exhausting the soil:
      ‘these crops were sometimes rotated with grass’
      • ‘Millions of tenant farmers in the developing world have little incentive to invest in land improvements, rotate crops or improve soil fertility.’
      • ‘You need to rotate them with crops that have glomalin-producing fungi.’
      • ‘But it's not as odd as it seems because chili peppers are one of the main crops rotated with cotton in the area.’
      • ‘If SCN is detected in one of your fields, start rotating soybeans with a non-host crop such as corn, sorghum or small grains if it isn't already in a rotation.’
      • ‘This field will need to be rotated to grain sorghum and replanted using safened seed when soil moisture conditions permit field operations.’
      • ‘Why, she asks her father, don't African peasants rotate their crops?’
      • ‘It survives winter in the soil and attacks again, even if other crops are rotated between peanut plantings.’
      • ‘He rotates bahia grass and cattle with his peanuts in a reduced-pesticide, conservation-till system that yields around 2 tons per acre.’
      • ‘We are still trying to find better ways to farm organically and to manage our soils and rotate our crops more productively.’
      • ‘Yield and grain quality losses are greater when soybeans are not rotated with other crops.’
      • ‘Growers can generally recoup by rotating mustard with a high-return crop like potato.’
      • ‘He's got 2.7 acres in annual crops and 4 acres in alfalfa so he can rotate the vegetable ground every two years.’
      • ‘Research has shown that both corn and soybeans produce higher yields when rotated rather than when cropped continuously.’
      • ‘The Lincoln crops are rotated by crop family and tractor timing; the city lots are multi-cropped to maximize space.’
      • ‘Nebraska farmers are field testing a relay intercropping system that rotates seed corn, wheat and soybean over two years to provide for soil nitrogen use.’
      • ‘We must rotate crops to provide a variety of conditions and nutrient demands.’
      • ‘Twenty years ago, managing corn rootworms was simple: just rotate crops from corn to soybeans.’
      • ‘If 50% or greater of the stand are weeds, it is time to rotate to a different crop.’
      • ‘These soils produce the best yields under no-till if they are systematically drained and crops are rotated.’
      • ‘As water availability is reduced, it becomes more economical to rotate corn with crops using less water.’
    2. 2.2[with object] Change the position of (tyres) on a motor vehicle to distribute wear:
      ‘radial tyres should only be rotated from front to rear on the same side’
      • ‘Drive tires should be rotated between forward and back positions at least once to even out wear.’


Late 17th century: from Latin rotat- turned in a circle, from the verb rotare, from rota wheel.