Word Confusion: Role versus Roll

Posted March 17, 2014 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

Ah, yessss, I have a roll to play here. Oops, that roll just crumbled, right after it hit the floor. I guess I must’a meant a role to play. That’ll teach me. I just hate having to do clean-up.

I could eat a role, as in to devour the character and really get deep into how I saw this character’s motivations — metaphysically. It would certainly nourish my soul — no, I don’t mean sole — but it wouldn’t do much nutrition-wise. Hmmm, I suppose you could say that rolls won’t do much for me diet-wise anyway unless I picked up some sushi rolls! Yum!!

Of course there are those rolls which would ensure I got moving, forward naturally. But then again, if I got just the right role to play as an actor, it could also move my career forward. What is a writer to do?

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.

If you found this post on “Role versus Roll” interesting, consider tweeting it to your friends. Subscribe to KD Did It, if you’d like to track this post for future updates.

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If we reverse the roles these words play…
It was a case of role reversal.

Okay, this time you have to play the mom.

It was a case of roll reversal.

Yeah, put that car in reverse and go the other way!

Although, the speaker could mean that you should turn the frosted cinnamon rolls right side up. No point leaving that yummy frosting on the plate!

I had a minor role in the play.

I played a maid, and it was the butler who did it!

I had a minor roll in the play.

Yeah, I only fell down. Rick, however, had to fall down three flights of stairs.

Role with the punches

I played a boxer.

Roll with the punches

It’s always going wrong for me, and I just have to accept it.

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.

If you found this post on “Role versus Roll” interesting, consider tweeting it to your friends. Subscribe to KD Did It, if you’d like to track this post for future updates.

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Role Roll
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Merriam-Webster: role and roll; Dictionary.com: role

Image courtesy of Queensland Government

Hmmm, this day is coming…


Image photographed by Quinn Dombrowski under license by CC BY-SA, via Wikimedia Commons

This Philly roll was

Part of Grammar:
Noun
Plural: roles

Alternate spelling: rôle

Noun 1; Verb 2, intransitive & transitive

Plural for the noun and third person present verb: rolls
Past tense or past participle: rolled
Gerund or present participle: rolling

An actor’s part in a play, movie, etc.

  • The function assumed or part played by a person or thing in a particular situation
  • Socially expected behavior pattern usually determined by an individual’s status in a particular society

[Medical] The characteristic and expected social behavior of an individual

[Sociology] The rights, obligations, and expected behavior patterns associated with a particular social status

A function or part performed especially in a particular operation or process

Noun:
A cylinder formed by winding flexible material around a tube or by turning it over and over on itself without folding

  • A hairdo in which some or all of the hair is rolled or curled up or under
  • Any of various food preparations rolled up for cooking or serving
  • A cylindrical twist of tobacco
  • A roll of paper on which music for a player piano is recorded in perforations which actuate the keys
  • A flexible case (as of leather) in which articles may be rolled and fastened by straps or clasps
  • Paper money folded or rolled into a wad
  • A solid cylindrical object for flattening something, especially one used to shape metal in a rolling mill

A movement in which someone or something turns or is turned over on itself

  • A gymnastic exercise in which the body is rolled into a tucked position and turned in a forward or backward circle
  • A swaying or oscillation of a ship, aircraft, or vehicle around an axis parallel to the direction of motion
  • Undulation of the landscape

A prolonged, deep, reverberating sound, typically made by thunder or a drum

  • [Music] One of the basic patterns (rudiments) of drumming, consisting of a sustained, rapid alternation of single or double strokes of each stick

A very small loaf of bread, typically eaten with butter or a filling

An official list or register of names

A wheel for making decorative lines on book covers

  • A design impressed by such a tool

Verb:
[Of a vehicle] Move or run smoothly on wheels

  • [Of time] Elapse steadily
  • [Of a drop of liquid] Flow
  • [Roll off; of a product] Issue from an assembly line or machine
  • [Of waves, smoke, cloud, or fog] Move or flow forward with an undulating motion
  • [Of land] Extend in gentle undulations
  • [Of credits for a movie or television program] Be displayed as if moving on a roller up the screen

[Of words] Flow effortlessly or mellifluously

To move across the ground or another surface by turning over and over

Verb, intransitive:
Move or cause to move in a particular direction by turning over and over on an axis without sliding

  • To turn over and over
  • Luxuriate in an abundant supply
  • Turn or cause to turn over to face a different direction
  • To execute a somersault
  • [Of a person or animal] Lie down and turn over and over while remaining in the same place
  • [Of a moving ship, aircraft, or vehicle] Rock or oscillate around an axis parallel to the direction of motion
  • Move along or from side to side unsteadily or uncontrollably
  • Walk with a swinging gait

[Of a vehicle] Move or run on wheels

  • [Roll something up/down] Make a car window or a window blind move up or down
  • [With reference to a machine, device, or system) operate or begin operating

Turn (something flexible) over and over on itself to form a cylinder, tube, or ball

  • [Of a person or animal] Curl up tightly

[Of a loud, deep sound such as that of thunder or drums] Reverberate

To move onward or around as if by completing a revolution

  • To shift the gaze continually
  • To revolve on an axis

To move about

To go forward in an easy, gentle, or undulating manner

  • To flow in a continuous stream
  • To flow as part of a stream of words or sounds
  • To have an undulating contour
  • To lie extended

To travel in a vehicle

  • To become carried on a stream
  • To move on wheels

To take the form of a cylinder or ball

  • To respond to rolling in a specified way

To get under way

  • To move forward
  • To proceed or progress with notable ease or success

[Of a football quarterback; often used with out] To run toward one flank usually parallel to the line of scrimmage especially before throwing a pass

Verb, transitive:
Move or cause to move in a particular direction by turning over and over on an axis

  • To impel forward with an easy continuous motion
  • Turn or cause to turn over to face a different direction
  • To cause to move in a circular manner
  • Turn one’s eyes upward, typically to show surprise or disapproval
  • [Informal] Overturn a vehicle
  • Throw a die or dice
  • Obtain a particular score
  • To form into a mass by turning over and over

[Of a vehicle] Move or run on wheels

  • Move or push a wheeled object
  • [Roll something up/down] To cause to move in a given direction by or as if by turning a crank
  • [With reference to a machine, device, or system] Operate or begin operating

Turn (something flexible) over and over on itself to form a cylinder, tube, or ball

  • Make by forming material into a cylinder or ball

Flatten or spread (something) by using a roller or by passing it between rollers

To put a wrapping around

  • To wrap round on itself
    • Shape into a ball or roll
    • To produce by such shaping

[Of a loud, deep sound such as that of thunder or drums] Reverberate

  • To make a continuous beating sound upon
  • To play (a chord) in arpeggio style
  • Pronounce (a consonant, typically an r) with a trill
  • Utter (a word or words) with a reverberating or vibratory effect

[Informal] Rob someone, typically when they are intoxicated or asleep)

To press, spread, or level with a roller

To combine so as to comprise one entity

Examples:
Dietrich’s role was as a wife in war-torn Paris.

She greeted us all in her various roles of mother, friend, and daughter.

Religion plays a vital role in society.

He played a major role in the negotiations.

Noun:
a roll of carpet
scroll
rolls of fat
roller
jewelry roll
a roll of mints
a roll of bills, bankroll
a roll of the dice
a forward roll
drum roll
a sausage, cabbage, or yeast roll
the voter rolls
muster roll
The ponies completed two rolls before getting back on their feet.

The car corners capably with a minimum of roll.

Hidden by the roll of the land was a refinery.

Verb:
The names of his colleagues rolled off his lips.

Verb, intransitive:
The car rolled down into a ditch.

The buffalo rolled in the dust.

He was fairly rolling in money.

eyes rolling in terror

Money was rolling in.

The names roll off your tongue

rolling prairie

rolling north on the highway

The ship pitched and rolled.

They were rolling about with laughter.

The van was rolling along the highway.

The cameras started to roll.

The shock made the armadillo roll into a ball.

The first peals of thunder rolled across the sky.

The organization is on a roll.

The team was rolling.

Verb, transitive:
She rolled the ball across the floor.

They rolled him over onto his back.

Sarah rolled her eyes.

He rolled his Mercedes in a 100 mph crash.

Roll a 2, 3, or 12.

Pat rolled the cart back and forth.

The years rolled by.

Huge tears rolled down her cheeks.

rolled down the window

The first copies of the newspaper rolled off the presses.

The fog rolled across the fields.

Roll the camera.

[Often used with out] Roll out the cookie dough before using the cookie cutters.

He rolled up the newspaper to swat the fly.

He liked to roll his own cigarettes.

[With two objects] Harry rolled himself a joint.

When he wanted to emphasize a point, he rolled his rrrs.

If you don’t get drunk, you don’t get rolled.

[Rolled into one] It was a shopping center, amusement park, and nightclub all rolled into one.

Derivatives:
Adjective: multirole Adjective: rollable
Phrasal Verb
roll something back
roll in
roll something out
roll something over
roll up
roll something up
History of the Word:
First known use: 1605
Early 17th century, from the obsolete French roule, meaning roll, referring originally to the roll of paper on which the actor’s part was written.
1 First known use: 13th century
Middle English: from the Old French rolle 1 and roller 2, from the Latin rotulus, meaning a roll, a variant of rotula (little wheel, which is a diminutive of rota).
Similar to the Old High German rad, meaning wheel, the Welsh rhod, or the Sanskrit ratha for wagon.

2 First known use: 14th century
Middle English from the Anglo-French rouler, meaning roller, from roele or wheel, rowel, roule, meaning roll.

C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves?

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