ROLL (O. Fr. rolle, roulle, mod. rdle, Lat. rotulus, dim. of rota, wheel) , something rolled or wound up in a cylindrical form on an axis, or something which " rolls," that is, moves or is moved along a service by a turning motion. Primarily the word is used of a piece of writing material, such as parchment or paper, rolled up for the purpose of convenient storage, handling, etc. This is the meaning of the Med. Lat. rotulus, denned by Du Cangeas " Scheda, charta in speciem rotulaeseurotaeconvoluta." It was thus the convenient name for any document kept in this form as an official record, and hence for any register, record, catalogue or official list. " The Rolls " was the name of the building where the records of the Chancery Court were kept, the keeper of which was the Master (q.v.) of the Rolls, now the title of the third member of the English Supreme Court of Judicature. Other familiar examples of the use of the word in this sense are the list of those admitted as qualified solicitors, whence the phrase " to strike off the rolls, " of removal by the court of a solicitor for offences or delinquencies. There are numerous applications of the word to other objects packed in a cylindrical form, such as tobacco, cloth, etc., and particularly to a small loaf of bread rolled over before baking, the crust being thin and crisp and the crumb spongy.
In architecture a " roll " or " scroll " moulding is a moulding resembling a section of a roll or scroll of parchment with the end overlapping; a " roll and fillet " moulding is a section of a cylindrical moulding with a square fillet running along the centre of the face (see LABEL). For the sense of an object that rolls, the word " roller " is more general, but " roll " is frequent in technical usage for revolving cylinders, especially when working in fixed bearings. For the rolling of steel see ROLLING MILL.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)