There are 2 main definitions of pedal in English:

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pedal1

Line breaks: pedal
Pronunciation: /ˈpɛd(ə)l
 
/

noun

1Each of a pair of foot-operated levers used for powering a bicycle or other vehicle propelled by the legs.
Example sentences
  • All of this excess motion can rob the cyclist of the power that needs to be delivered to the pedals to drive the bicycle forward.
  • The rider sits on a saddle, propels the vehicle by means of pedals, and steers with handlebars on the front wheel.
  • It's more important for a race bike to actively absorb washboard and roots so riders can stay seated, powering the pedals to the finish line.
2A foot-operated throttle, brake, or clutch control in a motor vehicle: a brake pedal
More example sentences
  • The gear lever was at his right hand, the brake in the throttle pedal's usual place.
  • Second, the brake and master cylinder rotate as the front end deforms, moving the clutch and brake pedal forward.
  • Further tests are planned on gas, brake and clutch pedals.
3Each of a set of two or three levers on a piano, particularly (also sustaining pedal) one which, when depressed, prevents the dampers from stopping the sound when the keys are released. The second is the soft pedal; a third, if present, produces either selective sustaining or complete muffling of the tone.
Example sentences
  • The basic notes of his music are very few and usually surrounded by a haze of the overtones created by the damper pedal of the piano.
  • During performance, most students will need to stand while depressing the damper pedal to access the interior of the piano.
  • I took this opportunity, not only to answer her question and remind her of the proper name for the damper pedal, but also to explore the piano and how it worked.
3.1A foot-operated lever on other musical instruments, such as an organ.
Example sentences
  • The same format was often imitated at the organ, the pedal taking the bass and the manuals the treble lines.
  • This implementation enables you to create a true dual-manual organ with bass pedals, a swell pedal and faders to control the drawbars.
  • I understand that some of the older organs have quite short pedals, which meant you had to always play with the toes and not the heel.
3.2A foot-operated device for producing a sound effect on an electric guitar.
Example sentences
  • The guitarist fiddled with various electronic devices and guitar pedals throughout the show, showing great musical versatility.
  • Solid-body guitars were combined with new sonic modification devices such as distortion boxes and wah-wah pedals.
  • The band looks confused, their pedals keep making funny noises, their vocals come and go.
3.3 short for pedal note.

verb (pedals, pedalling, pedalled; US pedals, pedaling, pedaled)

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1 [no object, with adverbial of direction] Move by working the pedals of a bicycle: they pedalled along the canal towpath
More example sentences
  • On a borrowed a bicycle, he pedals over hills and along dirt roads, encountering impenetrable characters and glimpses of his own nature.
  • When the girls came pedalling along in the Bordeaux race - all legs and flowing hair - they were a sensation.
  • You can see cyclists pedalling along, chatting away happily.
1.1 [with object and adverbial of direction] Move (a bicycle) by working its pedals: she was pedalling a bicycle around town
More example sentences
  • But we are also abandoning red meat, drinking bottled water, double-locking our doors at night and sending our kids out with a crash helmet when they're pedalling the trike around the lawn.
  • They allow those adults to pedal the trike around in the water.
  • Begin moving your legs in a circular motion, as if pedaling a bicycle.
1.2 [no object] Work the pedals of a bicycle: he was coming down the path on his bike, pedalling hard
More example sentences
  • Shipston junior triathlete Natalie Smith is pedalling hard for success this year as she aims for the ultimate prize - representing her country in international competition.
  • The anarchists sped down Clarendon, followed by 30 uniformed Boston policemen pedaling hard.
  • The rider then has a choice: to stop the bike or to pedal faster.
2 [no object] Use the pedals of a piano, organ, etc., especially in a particular style: (as noun pedalling) Chopin gave no indications of pedalling in his manuscript
More example sentences
  • The composer provides clear indications for dynamics, pedaling and phrasing.
  • The student will enjoy exploring the many colors of piano dynamics, voicing and pedaling.
  • He made something veiled and mysterious of the central fugue, and his virtuoso pedalling in the work's later stages was impressive.

Origin

early 17th century (denoting a foot-operated lever of an organ): from French pédale, from Italian pedale, from Latin pedalis 'a foot in length', from pes, ped- 'foot'.

More
  • pawn from (Late Middle English):

    There are two separate words here. The pawn in chess came via Anglo-Norman French poun, from medieval Latin pedo ‘foot soldier’, from Latin pes, ped- ‘foot’ (source of pedal (early 17th century), pedestal (mid 16th century), and pedestrian (mid 18th century)). Figurative use ‘a person used by others for their own purposes’ is recorded from the late 16th century. In the sense ‘to deposit an object as security for money lent’, pawn entered English from French pan ‘pledge, security’ in the 15th century.

Usage

People often confuse the words pedal and peddle. Pedal is a noun referring to a foot-operated lever, as on a bicycle, and a verb chiefly meaningmove by working the pedals of a bicycle’ ( they pedalled along the road). Peddle, on the other hand, is a verb meaningsell goods or promote an idea’ ( he peddled printing materials around the country she peddled a ludicrously Utopian view of the past). The related words pedlar and pedaller are also confused. A pedlar (also spelled peddler, especially in the US) is a person who goes from place to place selling goods; the word for a person who sells illegal drugs or stolen goods (or, metaphorically, who promotes an idea or view) is generally spelled peddler. A pedaller (or, in the US, a pedaler) is someone who rides a bike.

Phrases

with the pedal to the metal

1
North American informal At full speed (with reference to pressing the accelerator of a car to the floor): she loved careening down the highway with the pedal to the metal southern Nevada’s ethic of pedal-to-the-metal growth
More example sentences
  • Without so much as flinching, Bri had the car in drive and was screeching out of the parking lot with the pedal to the metal.
  • So what if he gets driven around with the pedal to the metal?

Derivatives

pedaller

1
(US pedaler) noun
Example sentences
  • The hours between 4pm and 7pm would be soon called ‘crash/death time’ because of the tired pedallers on the roads.
  • The pedallers are rewarded by economic gains, although sometimes related issues are not addressed (such as traffic congestion).
  • It seems the local force is keeping a close eye on pavement pedallers after complaints from pedestrians that the footpaths are unsafe.

Words that rhyme with pedal

backpedal, heddle, medal, meddle, peddle, treadle

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There are 2 main definitions of pedal in English:

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pedal2

Line breaks: pedal
Pronunciation: /ˈpɛd(ə)l
 
, ˈpiːd(ə)l/

adjective

chiefly Medicine & Zoology
Relating to the foot or feet.
Example sentences
  • Scaphopods burrow by projecting their foot into the substrate and contracting pedal retractor muscles to pull the animal downward.
  • Most actinarians are sessile; that is, they live attached to rocks or other substrates and do not move, or move only very slowly by contractions of the pedal disk.
  • Near the pedal ganglia is a pair of statocysts, which are ovid or spherical.

Origin

early 17th century: from Latin pedalis, from pes, ped- 'foot'.

More
  • pawn from (Late Middle English):

    There are two separate words here. The pawn in chess came via Anglo-Norman French poun, from medieval Latin pedo ‘foot soldier’, from Latin pes, ped- ‘foot’ (source of pedal (early 17th century), pedestal (mid 16th century), and pedestrian (mid 18th century)). Figurative use ‘a person used by others for their own purposes’ is recorded from the late 16th century. In the sense ‘to deposit an object as security for money lent’, pawn entered English from French pan ‘pledge, security’ in the 15th century.

Definition of pedal in:

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