Definition of sprocket in English:



  • 1Each of several projections on the rim of a wheel that engage with the links of a chain or with holes in film, tape, or paper.

    • ‘Whatever crisis engulfs the country, at least you know that the engine is turning over smoothly, every sprocket interlocking, the gears changing so imperceptibly that all you can hear is the ticking of the clock.’
    • ‘One of the drive chains jumped the sprocket and the team could not fix it.’
    • ‘I had to ease back on the pedals to allow the chain to drop down a sprocket, but having lost that momentum I couldn't get it going again before the line.’
    • ‘Along the way today, I did have a bit of bother with my 11-tooth sprocket, so I drifted back for a wheel change.’
    • ‘Worn chains and sprockets may be working improperly long before they actually break.’
    • ‘All of the moving parts are fully enclosed so you have got no chance of sprockets or drive shafts whirring around or anything like that.’
    prong, point, tine, cog, ratchet
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A wheel with sprockets.
      • ‘The small sprocket wheel in turn is coupled to the ratchet wheel, which allows only the uni-directional rotation of the ratchet sleeve shaft.’
      • ‘Older projectors had to be threaded manually, with the user placing the film around the sprocket wheels, through the film gate and around the various spindles and guides.’
      • ‘The sprocket wheel is attached to the rear wheel, which thus also rotates 2 times a second.’
      • ‘Modern aluminium sprocket wheels are so light, he says, that doubling their size is relatively unimportant.’
      • ‘If the chain has not fallen off the sprocket wheel, its movement may be obstructed by something.’


Mid 16th century (denoting a triangular piece of timber used in a roof): of unknown origin.