One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Each of the bars or wire rods connecting the centre of a wheel to its outer edge.
rod, pole, stake, stick, batten, shaft, shank, rail, pale, paling, spar, strut, support, prop, crosspiece, girder, beam, boomView synonyms
- ‘A large, open circle at the front connects with an outside wheel by means of spokes, some straight and some angled, which have been painted yellow, orange, green or black.’
- ‘There is also a use of ‘artistic’ composition: a couple relaxing are framed behind the spokes of a bicycle wheel; as night descends, figures are framed in silhouette against the sky.’
- ‘Immediately above it, a wheel with hub and seven spokes is set into clockwise motion by an arrow at its perimeter.’
- ‘These ancient wheels all had ‘a peculiar design: a solid wooden circle constructed of three planks fastened together, rather than a rim with spokes.’’
- ‘China may only have blunt weapons with which to handle overheating - the economic equivalent of pushing a walking stick into the spokes of a bicycle's front wheel.’
- ‘He had a penchant for framing shots through the spokes of the nearest wagon wheel, to break up the visual monotony of a scene.’
- ‘Viewers of this painting find themselves seeing the world through a vision fast enough to stop the legs of a horse but not the spokes of a spinning wheel.’
- ‘Partially held together with garter belts, Spider Lady contains an entire bicycle wheel, the spokes of which play off the crisscross skeins of nylon and string that keep the gothic piece in a kind of bondage.’
- ‘The result is that each limb is motionless, while the spokes of the wheels of the vehicle whirl about so rapidly that they cannot be seen.’
- ‘I clipped playing cards to the spokes on his wheelchair once.’
- ‘For this community, therapy is not a one-way street, but rather resembles the spokes of bicycle, with the human heart as the hub.’
- ‘It was in this act of destruction, where the spokes of the bicycle splintered off, that I came to know the material.’
- ‘In Forever, Jia mounts a video camera on the spokes of a tricycle and pedals it through Beijing.’
- ‘He pushed the legless ends together on the ground so as to form a virtual hub, from which the crossbars radiated up and outward like the spokes of a giant horizontal wheel.’
- 1.1 Each of a set of radial handles projecting from a ship's wheel.
- 1.2 Each of the metal rods in an umbrella to which the material is attached.
- ‘The umbrella, with its protective cloth stripped off and the spokes spread uselessly in the air, is thus a poignant and recurrent emblem of the dangers that lie in the rift between words and objects.’
put a spoke in someone's wheel
Prevent someone from carrying out a plan.
- ‘He said: ‘There has been a bit of needle between the tracks in the past and I would love to put a spoke in their wheel.’’
- ‘His position as deputy manager of a State tobacco company might have put a spoke in the judge's wheel, thwarting his plan to proceed in accordance with the law.’
- ‘‘Not only that they didn't help me, but put a spoke in my wheel,’ Riza says.’
- ‘And here's a comment from a LibDem voter: ‘I always thought he was a good MP but you have put a spoke in his wheel.’’
Old English spāca, of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch speek, German Speiche, from the base of spike.
- past of speak
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