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Ferris wheel

Meaning: an amusement park ride (for example, the London Eye) consisting of a giant vertical wheel that revolves slowly as riders sit in passenger cars suspended on its outer edge

For example:

  • I hate Ferris wheels. I'm afraid of heights.

  • We could see the whole city from the top of the Ferris wheel.

Origin: George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. (1859-1896) was an American bridge builder. He accepted a challenge to plan a monument for the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The organisers wanted something as amazing as the Eiffel Tower, which had been built for the Paris Expo (1889). Ferris's proposal was a large observation wheel. He got his own investors and convinced organizers to let him build the giant wheel. The Chicago Wheel (1893) became the world's first Ferris wheel. It cost 50 cents per ride.

Quick Quiz:

Where does a rider sit on a Ferris wheel?

a. inside the wheel itself

b. in a cabin on the wheel's circumference

c. on a deck in the centre of the wheel

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Contributor: Tara Benwell