45 Idioms with “Roll”
Roll, ultimately derived from the Latin noun rota, meaning “wheel,” is the basis of numerous idioms about movement, many of which are listed and defined below.
1. a rolling stone gathers no moss: a proverb meaning that one who remains active will not become complacent or hidebound
2–4. get rolling or get/start the ball rolling: get started
5. heads will roll: said in reference to a reckoning, such as a mass firing at a business, alluding to decapitations such as those that occurred during executions by guillotine after the French Revolution
6. let it roll: an exhortation to make something move or allow it to move
7. let the good times roll: an expression perhaps originating with (and directly translated from) the Cajun French saying “Laissez les bons temps rouler,” associated with Mardi Gras
8–9. let’s rock and roll/roll: slang exhorting others to join in starting an endeavor
10. on a roll: a reference to being on a lucky streak
11. ready to roll: prepared
12. roll along: a reference to smooth operation
13. roll around: slang for “arrive or occur again,” as in the case of an anniversary
14–15. roll back/rollback: return to a previous state; an act of returning to a previous state
16–17. roll back the clock/years: a reference to going back in time
18. roll by: move past, as in a reference to the passage of years
19. roll call: reading of a roster of names to determine who is present in a group
20. roll (one’s) eyes: a reference to the expression one makes to signal annoyance, derision, or disbelief
21. roll in: appear or arrive, especially in large amounts or numbers
22. roll in the hay: a euphemism for sex, from the notion of a pile of hay in a barn being used in lieu of a bed
23. roll off the tongue: a reference to how easily or awkwardly a word, phrase, or expression can be spoken depending on the juxtaposition of consonants and vowels
24–25. roll out/rollout: introduce something, such as a product; an act of introducing something
26. roll out the red carpet: a reference to providing an elegant experience, from the association with red carpets set out at the entrance to an exclusive event
27. roll out the welcome mat: show friendliness and hospitality
28–29. roll over/rollover: reinvest; a reinvestment
30. roll over and play dead: idiom related to surrendering or to feigning death
31. roll over in (one’s) grave: a reference to how a revered deceased person would be agitated if he or she were to become reanimated and be aware of how something associated with that person has supposedly become degraded (spin is sometimes used as an intensifier of “roll over”)
32. roll the bones/dice: a reference specifically to casting dice in the gambling game of craps or in general to taking one’s chances
33. roll up (one’s) sleeves: a reference to preparing to work hard, from the notion of protecting shirtsleeves from materials that may damage or soil them or of ensuring that they do not get caught in machinery
34. roll up in: slang referring to someone approaching in a distinctive vehicle (one that is described subsequent to the phrase) and coming to a stop
35. roll up the sidewalks: a jocular reference to the lack of nightlife in small towns, with the notion that sidewalks are put away at a certain time each night because there is no longer any foot traffic
36. roll with it: said as advice to someone to accept, and perhaps take advantage of, a situation
37. roll with the punches: adjust to difficulties, from boxing slang for moving as a punch is delivered toward one to minimize the impact
38. rolled into one: a reference to something having multiple purposes or uses
39–41. rolling in dough/it/money: said of someone wealthy
42. rolling in the aisles: said in reference to something extremely amusing, from the notion that audience members at a performance are laughing to the extent that they fall out of their seats and tumble into the aisles
43–44. rolling on the floor/rolling on the floor laughing my ass off: a reference, usually abbreviated ROTFL/ROTFLMAO, to one being so amused that one falls to the floor and rolls around, laughing helplessly; the latter phrase is an intensifier
45. rolling stone: a restless or itinerant person
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