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v. roiled, roil·ing, roils
1. To make (a liquid) turbulent or muddy or cloudy by stirring up sediment: The storm roiled the waters of the harbor.
2. To cause to be in a state of agitation or disorder: wars that roiled the continent for decades.
3. Usage Problem To put in a state of emotional agitation; rile or upset.
1. To move or be in a state of turbulence, especially because of an abundance of something: storm clouds roiling overhead; a stream roiling with salmon.
2. To be agitated or chaotic: when campuses were roiling with demonstrations.
3. To be vexed or upset: a person who is roiling with shame.
Usage Note: The verb roil means literally "to make muddy or cloudy by stirring up sediment," and this meaning has given rise to a number of figurative uses. Roil can also mean "to be or cause to be agitated." Not surprisingly, the synonymous verb rile actually began its existence as a variant of roil. The figurative uses appear to unsettle many Usage Panelists since several seemingly unremarkable examples could not elicit acceptance from more than a thin majority. In our 2002 survey, the Panel was given both transitive and intransitive examples. The transitive example The lyrics of the song roiled some Asian students, who felt they were racist was acceptable to 52 percent of Panelists. The phrasal verb roil up found even less favor. Only 44 percent accepted the sentence The administration's comments have roiled up the university's professors, who felt the administration was declaring war on tenure. For intransitive uses, the Panel was no more sanguine. Some 54 percent accepted The controversy continued to roil just two days before the primaries. The literal use meaning "to move turbulently" found even fewer takers, with 34 percent accepting It was like wading through surf when a mountainous breaker is roiling toward you. According to most dictionaries, all these uses should be acceptable. The survey results suggest then that many people see these uses of roil as malapropisms for rile. Writers who count themselves in this number can use a synonym like upset or disturb for the transitive uses or boil or roll for the intransitive ones.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
1. (tr) to make (a liquid) cloudy or turbid by stirring up dregs or sediment
2. (intr) (esp of a liquid) to be agitated or disturbed
3. (intr) dialect to be noisy or boisterous
4. (tr) another word (now rare) for rile1
[C16: of unknown origin; compare rile]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
1. to render (a fluid) turbid by stirring up sediment.
2. to disturb or disquiet; irritate.v.i.
3. to move or proceed turbulently.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
Past participle: roiled
Collins English Verb Tables © HarperCollins Publishers 2011
Switch to new thesaurus
|Verb||1.||roil - be agitated; "the sea was churning in the storm"|
move - move so as to change position, perform a nontranslational motion; "He moved his hand slightly to the right"
|2.||roil - make turbid by stirring up the sediments of|
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
roil[rɔɪl] (esp US)
A. VI [water] → enturbiarse
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005
vi (= churn: water) → strudeln
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007