Definition of rowel in English:



  • A spiked revolving disc at the end of a spur.

    • ‘This is very nice cavalry spur: it still has the rowel on the back, which is sharp & functional.’
    • ‘A person's height and riding style set the level and angle of the rowel in relation to the horse's rib cage.’
    • ‘The improved rowel eliminates the risk of lacerating the hide of a horse or bull, especially when ridden in rodeo competition, and reduces the risk of other kinds of rowel-induced injury to the animal.’
    • ‘Through the fifteenth century rowels became smaller and spur necks became longer.’
    • ‘Spiller’s customers can choose from more than 30 spur designs and rowels.’


[with object]
  • Use a rowel to urge on (a horse)

    ‘he rowelled his horse on as fast as he could’
    • ‘Bates roweled his horse and disappeared down the street in a dead run.’
    • ‘In order to compel greater obedience, riders attach a small spiked wheel at the end of the spur called a rowel which digs into the animal's undersides causing excruciating pain and bloody gashes from being rowelled too hard.’


Middle English: from Old French roel(e), from late Latin rotella, diminutive of Latin rota ‘wheel’.