cercle vicieux

Senior Member
Hi. What does the expression "wheel-spinning" mean ? I bumped into it while reading Mark Everett's Things that the grandchildren should know, in a sentence

My college career was merely an extension of the wheel-spinning I had perfected in high school.

So, my interpretation is that he refers to his tendency to simply waste his time and let the things like school to roll on their own, but then again, I don't really know what "wheel-spinning" means (if it doesn't mean literally spinning a wheel).

Thanks in advance.
  • sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    "Wheel spinning" literally refers to a situation where a vehicle has lost traction, e.g. on ice, snow, mud, etc. and the wheels spin without the vehicle going anywhere and sometimes the vehicle just digs itself in deeper.

    Thus it's often used figuratively for somebody who is exerting effort but not going anywhere.


    New Member
    When someone uses "Wheel Spinning" within a conversation (ex: I feel like I'm spinning my wheels.") it usually means wasting time/making no progress/trying but not getting anywhere.