The term “roll” comes from the Old French word “rolle,” which means “a document” or “a list.” This is derived from the Latin word “rotulus,” meaning “a little wheel” or “a scroll,” which in turn comes from “rota,” meaning “wheel.”

1. Proto-Indo-European (PIE)

The PIE root “*ret-” means “to run” or “to turn.”

2. Latin

From the PIE root, the Latin word “rota” developed, meaning “wheel.” The diminutive form “rotulus” means “a little wheel” or “a scroll,” indicating something that rolls up.

3. Old French (c. 9th to 14th century CE)

The Latin term “rotulus” evolved into Old French “rolle,” meaning “a roll” or “a list” (usually a list of names or records).

4. Middle English (c. 11th to 15th century CE)

The Old French “rolle” was adopted into Middle English as “rolle,” meaning “a document” or “something that is rolled up.”

5. Modern English (from 15th century CE to present)

The term “roll” evolved into its current form and pronunciation, retaining the meanings of “to move by turning over and over,” “a list or document,” and “a cylindrical object.”

Phonetic Evolution

Over time, the pronunciation of “roll” has remained relatively stable, transitioning from the Old French “rolle” to the Modern English “roll.”

Usage Examples

  • “The children like to roll down the hill.”
  • “Another example of ‘roll’ in a sentence is ‘Please sign your name on the roll.'”

Cultural or Historical Notes

The development of the word “roll” was significantly influenced by its applications in both physical and administrative contexts, such as the rolling motion and the use of scrolls and documents.

The word “roll” reflects the importance of movement and recording in human activities, emphasizing the role of rolling in various physical actions and the use of rolls in documentation and record-keeping.