Definition of cleat in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /kliːt/


Image of cleat
1A T-shaped piece of metal or wood on a boat or ship, to which ropes are attached.
Example sentences
  • The new facility would come complete with mooring cleats for tying boats, which provides proper access to solid ground and more security for the boats.
  • They shout orders while the voyage crew, the 30 of us aboard for the day, struggle with oversized ropes and cleats under the guidance of the volunteer crew.
  • In addition the cleats on both the docks and boats need to be upgraded.
2Each of a number of projections on the sole of a shoe, designed to prevent the wearer losing their footing.
Example sentences
  • Soccer players should also wear shoes with cleats or ribbed soles to prevent slipping.
  • Its composite platform is designed to optimize the pedal/shoe interface by using a unique cleat design which is adjustable in four directions for a highly tunable fit.
  • They also work with shims on the shoe sole under the cleats.
2.1 (cleats) North American Athletic shoes with cleats on the soles.
Example sentences
  • I saw cleats, track spikes, wedding and prom-fancy pumps, reef walkers, scrubs, ballet slippers, figure skates, and one pair of Uggs.
  • He was dressed for soccer, too, with regular athletic socks on with his cleats, instead of the standard soccer gear.
  • He shows no signs of slowing down at the age of 35, when most players have traded their cleats for slippers or golf spikes.
2.2An attachment for the sole of a cyclist’s shoe which clips on to a pedal, keeping the foot in place while cycling and increasing the application of force to the pedal: I think more or less everyone who has used cleats has fallen off at some stage
More example sentences
  • Aligning the cleat, shoe, and pedal can be done without constantly clipping and unclipping.
  • Go for a quick test ride in soft tennis shoes to rule out cleat/pedal interface issues.
  • This accident is a reminder to check cleats and pedals for wear.
2.3A projecting wedge on a spar or other part of a ship, to prevent slipping.
Example sentences
  • The cleats give the metal edges another level of defense against wind uplift.
2.4A small wedge, especially one on a plough or scythe.



Pronunciation: /ˈkliːtɪd/
Example sentences
  • Imagine a time without guidebooks, when all routes were first ascents, when hemp ropes and cleated boots were de rigueur.
  • Also, plastic cleated shoes work well on muddy fields.
  • People passed frequently on the adjacent dirt road; most wore cleated boots, which identified them as enemy soldiers.


Middle English (in the sense 'wedge'): of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch kloot 'ball, sphere' and German Kloss 'clod, dumpling', also to clot and clout.

Words that rhyme with cleat

accrete, autocomplete, beet, bittersweet, bleat, cheat, clubfeet, compete, compleat, complete, conceit, Crete, deceit, delete, deplete, discreet, discrete, eat, effete, élite, entreat, escheat, estreat, excrete, feat, feet, fleet, gîte, greet, heat, leat, leet, Magritte, maltreat, marguerite, meat, meet, meet-and-greet, mesquite, mete, mistreat, neat, outcompete, peat, Pete, petite, pleat, receipt, replete, sangeet, seat, secrete, sheet, skeet, sleet, splay-feet, street, suite, sweet, teat, treat, tweet, wheat

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: cleat

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.