WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2015
wheel and axle, 
Mechanical Engineeringa simple machine consisting, in its typical form, of a cylindrical drum to which a wheel concentric with the drum is firmly fastened: ropes are so applied that as one unwinds from the wheel, another rope is wound on to the drum.
Etymology:1765–75


Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

wheel and axle n
  1. a simple machine for raising weights in which a rope unwinding from a wheel is wound onto a cylindrical drum or shaft coaxial with or joined to the wheel to provide mechanical advantage



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