roll (n.1)

c. 1200, rolle, "rolled-up piece of parchment or paper, scroll" (especially one inscribed with an official record), from Old French rolle "document, parchment scroll, decree" (12c.), Medieval Latin rotulus "a roll of paper" (source also of Spanish rollo, Italian rullo), from Latin rotula "small wheel," diminutive of rota "wheel" (see rotary). Dutch rol, German Rolle, Danish rulle, etc. are from French.

The meaning "a register, a list, a catalogue" is from late 14c., common from c. 1800. The general sense of "quantity of material rolled up" also is from late 14c. Specific cookery meaning "small quantity of dough which is rolled before baking" is recorded from mid-15c. The meaning "quantity of paper money" is from 1846; the sense of "quantity of (rolled) film" is from 1890. 

roll (v.)

early 14c., rollen, "turn over and over, move by rotating" (intransitive); late 14c. in the transitive sense of "move (something) by turning it over and over;" from Old French roeller "roll, wheel round" (Modern French rouler), from Medieval Latin rotulare, from Latin rotula, diminutive of rota "wheel" (see rotary). Related: Rolled; rolling.

From c. 1400 as "wrap or cover by rolling or enclosing" in something, also "wrap round and round an axis;" early 15c. as "press or level with a roller." From 1510s as "to move or travel on wheels or by means of rolling." Of sounds (such as thunder) somehow suggestive of a rolling ball, 1590s; of a drum from 1680s.

Of spoken sounds, "to utter with vibrations of the tongue," by 1846. Of eyes, from late 14c. (rolle his eyne), originally suggestive of ferocity or madness. Of a movie camera, "to start filming," from 1938. Sense of "rob a stuporous drunk" is by 1873, from the action required to get to his pockets. To roll up "gather, congregate" is from 1861, originally Australian. To roll with the punches is a metaphor from boxing (1940). To roll them bones was old slang for "play at dice" (1929). Heads will roll is a Hitlerism:

If our movement is victorious there will be a revolutionary tribunal which will punish the crimes of November 1918. Then decapitated heads will roll in the sand. [1930]

roll (n.2)

1743, "act of rolling," from roll (v.). By 1836 as "a rolling gait or motion." From 1680s as "a rapid, uniform beating" (on a drum). The slang meaning "act of sexual intercourse" is attested from 1942 (compare roll in the hay). By 1862 as "an act of rotation." The sense of "a throw" (at dice) is attested by 1926. The colloquial expression on a roll for "enjoying a run of success" is by 1976.

updated on September 16, 2021

Definitions of roll from WordNet
roll (v.)
move by turning over or rotating;
The child rolled down the hill
Synonyms: turn over
roll (v.)
move along on or as if on wheels or a wheeled vehicle;
The President's convoy rolled past the crowds
Synonyms: wheel
roll (v.)
occur in soft rounded shapes;
The hills rolled past
Synonyms: undulate
roll (v.)
flatten or spread with a roller;
roll out the paper
Synonyms: roll out
roll (v.)
emit, produce, or utter with a deep prolonged reverberating sound;
rolling drums
The thunder rolled
roll (v.)
arrange or or coil around;
roll your hair around your finger
Synonyms: wind / wrap / twine
roll (v.)
begin operating or running;
The cameras were rolling
The presses are already rolling
roll (v.)
shape by rolling;
roll a cigarette
roll (v.)
execute a roll, in tumbling;
The gymnasts rolled and jumped
roll (v.)
sell something to or obtain something from by energetic and especially underhanded activity;
Synonyms: hustle / pluck
roll (v.)
move in a wavy pattern or with a rising and falling motion;
the waves rolled towards the beach
Synonyms: undulate / flap / wave
roll (v.)
move about aimlessly or without any destination, often in search of food or employment;
They rolled from town to town
Synonyms: wander / swan / stray / tramp / roam / cast / ramble / rove / range / drift / vagabond
roll (v.)
move, rock, or sway from side to side;
The ship rolled on the heavy seas
roll (v.)
cause to move by turning over or in a circular manner of as if on an axis;
She rolled the ball
They rolled their eyes at his words
Synonyms: revolve
roll (v.)
pronounce with a roll, of the phoneme /r/;
She rolls her r's
roll (v.)
boil vigorously;
The water rolled
Synonyms: seethe
roll (v.)
take the shape of a roll or cylinder;
Yarn rolls well
the carpet rolled out
roll (v.)
show certain properties when being rolled;
dried-out tobacco rolls badly
The carpet rolls unevenly
Synonyms: roll up
roll (n.)
rotary motion of an object around its own axis;
Synonyms: axial rotation / axial motion
roll (n.)
a list of names;
his name was struck off the rolls
Synonyms: roster
roll (n.)
a long heavy sea wave as it advances towards the shore;
Synonyms: roller / rolling wave
roll (n.)
photographic film rolled up inside a container to protect it from light;
roll (n.)
a round shape formed by a series of concentric circles (as formed by leaves or flower petals);
Synonyms: coil / whorl / curl / curlicue / ringlet / gyre / scroll
roll (n.)
a roll of currency notes (often taken as the resources of a person or business etc.);
he shot his roll on a bob-tailed nag
Synonyms: bankroll
roll (n.)
small rounded bread either plain or sweet;
Synonyms: bun
roll (n.)
a deep prolonged sound (as of thunder or large bells);
Synonyms: peal / pealing / rolling
roll (n.)
the sound of a drum (especially a snare drum) beaten rapidly and continuously;
Synonyms: paradiddle / drum roll
roll (n.)
a document that can be rolled up (as for storage);
Synonyms: scroll
roll (n.)
anything rolled up in cylindrical form;
roll (n.)
the act of throwing dice;
Synonyms: cast
roll (n.)
walking with a swaying gait;
roll (n.)
a flight maneuver; aircraft rotates about its longitudinal axis without changing direction or losing altitude;
roll (n.)
the act of rolling something (as the ball in bowling);
Synonyms: bowl
Etymologies are not definitions. From, not affiliated with etymonline.