Definition of cartwheel in US English:



  • 1The wheel of a cart.

    • ‘The first and most likely type to have been used in the Saxon period, is basically a cartwheel mounted horizontally on a pivot, the wheel being rotated by hand or with a stick.’
    • ‘The archways and entrances on the town's streets are marked with limestone blocks for cartwheels to pass over, all worn with the passage of time, each archway unique in the shape and size of its own blocks.’
    • ‘Certain desirable objets such as old roof tiles, an ancient cartwheel, a granite water trough and other items we hardly thought of as portable disappeared one by one from the building site.’
  • 2A circular sideways handspring with the arms and legs extended.

    • ‘Their neighbor, an older woman, was impressed with the way six-year-old Nancy did the cartwheels and handstands her mother had taught her, and she offered to pay for gymnastics classes.’
    • ‘‘I loved all the princesses, and I couldn't believe how the dancers could do somersaults and cartwheels on ice while dressed up in costume,’ she gushed afterwards.’
    • ‘Everyone applauded again as the jester set off around the room, spinning the baton and throwing it high in the air, time and time again, before doing a cartwheel or a somersault and catching it perfectly.’
    • ‘The boy whizzed up the platform, yelling, jumping, turning cartwheels.’
    • ‘I did a few crooked cartwheels and was attempting to do a handstand when he got up, shaking his head in amusement.’
    • ‘Level Three were the most difficult containing moves such as back flips, somersaults and full cartwheels.’
    • ‘You are astonished to discover the man can do cartwheels, handstands and back flips.’
    • ‘She suddenly jumped into a handstand, followed by an array of back flips and cartwheels, making her way back from the stream.’
    • ‘At age 74, she was more than capable of performing cartwheels and the splits!’
    • ‘Linked together, the one standing on the shoulders of the other, they turned cartwheels, and did flips and somersaults, launching themselves into the air.’
    • ‘She had to do cartwheels and handstands, but was perfect.’
    • ‘Some days, I still get the urge to do a handstand or a free cartwheel or a series of split leaps.’
    • ‘I could have done handsprings and cartwheels down the aisles without hitting anybody.’
    • ‘You get out to watch them and one kid's doing cartwheels over the ball, another's doing back flips.’
    • ‘The urge came over Owen to do something extremely unprofessional, cartwheels or somersaults in the office, anything to let out all of the pent up energy that had been welling up inside of him during this long, but fruitful day.’
    • ‘His routines now are far more daring than the cartwheels or even the basic somersaults that he learned with his first team, the Tallahassee Tumbling Tots.’
    • ‘Ella was racing around the room like a five year old doing cartwheels and somersaults across the carpeted floor.’
    • ‘Now aged 81, Keleti remains full of energy and is still able to turn cartwheels.’
    • ‘All of a sudden, Yianna was doing handsprings, Frank was performing no-handed cartwheels and Toni was doing somersaults in mid-air.’
    • ‘He not only walked but ran, jogged, did summersaults, cartwheels, and other various things, but he was always moving.’


  • no object, with adverbial of direction Perform a circular sideways handspring or handsprings with the arms and legs extended.

    ‘he cartwheeled across the room’
    • ‘Charlotte blinked as Marta Cumming's tiny frame cartwheeled across the lawn.’
    • ‘I've gone and cartwheeled over my own feet and landed square on my head.’
    • ‘On one occasion the doctor was driving down St Aubyn Street when the flywheel came off, cartwheeled away and was lost.’
    • ‘The aircraft spun wildly before cartwheeling into the ground.’
    • ‘It is believed the plane cartwheeled across a rocky plateau before the starboard wing burst into flames.’
    • ‘Male cheerleaders cartwheeled into Manchester in a bid to become world champions - with not a pompom in sight.’
    • ‘An image rose in Dennis's head of women cartwheeling behind Sonny and John Wayne, their skin smooth and white, their bodies pinwheeling slowly into the glistening pool.’
    • ‘Jade decided to practice her gymnastics and she cartwheeled over to the high dive.’
    • ‘Children danced by the bandstand and cartwheeled across the grass, while others enjoyed a picnic or stretched out to soak up the sunshine.’
    • ‘After several moments, he lunged forward, feinting a kick, but cartwheeled back as I lowered my hand to block.’
    • ‘Chastity kicked her legs out from under her, but Miriam cartwheeled away, keeping her balance and landing lightly on her feet.’
    • ‘Hogan says he has seen badly breached roofs where the rooftop air-conditioning units had came unfastened and cartwheeled across the roof.’
    • ‘In several places we each went sprawling, clawing at tufts of dead grass to stop ourselves from cartwheeling down the mountain.’
    • ‘She began to sit up and he cartwheeled over her back, forcing her back on the ground.’
    • ‘When she wouldn't stop somersaulting and cartwheeling in the front room we decided to take her dancing.’
    • ‘You're on a football pitch, not cartwheeling around a sawdust ring like a circus entertainer.’
    • ‘It was a jolly good plan, Vernon decided, as he cartwheeled down the road to post his letter.’
    • ‘The sewer collapse happened before I got to San Francisco, but I still remember the impressive television news footage of that giant Tudor house cartwheeling in seconds into a giant hole and collapsing into a bunch of boards.’
    • ‘I have several friends who sit down to watch a grand prix only to switch off once all the cars have negotiated the first corner without cartwheeling into the scenery.’
    • ‘But as I was coming in to land, I went through some turbulence and, as I tried to brake, one side of the canopy collapsed and I went cartwheeling out of control.’