Definition of cleat in English:



  • 1A T-shaped piece of metal or wood on a boat or ship, to which ropes are attached.

    • ‘If I squinted my eyes tight enough, I could also see the cleat near the stern where I used to attach the painter from the punt.’
    • ‘She tied it off securely to a cleat on the starboard corner of the transom.’
    • ‘The anchor cleat was also ripped from the boat, so I am very lucky I did not lose my anchor completely.’
    • ‘The only holds offered were the handrail on the coachroof and the small cleat amidships.’
    • ‘It was simply fastened to a cleat on the gunwale, with no provision for reeling it back in.’
    • ‘There are liable to be rocks, propellers, exhaust, slippery decks, cleats, and a host of other potential bugaboos that must be considered.’
    • ‘In order to try to get back on board he stood or kneeled on the fender but, when he did so, the rope which attached the fender to the cleat parted at the fender end.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘You may have to attach three anchor lines or five docklines to those forward cleats, and if you only have two, you don't have enough.’
    • ‘Until you have developed your sea legs, boats can be floating booby traps, with things like cleats placed awkwardly around the deck to stub bare feet or even send a guest tumbling overboard.’
    • ‘Lessons and practice, including man-overboard drills, engine care, lassoing cleats and navigating ‘blind,’ kept everyone on their toes.’
    • ‘You should be able to survive the failure of any one cleat with the wind in any given direction.’
    • ‘The rope on this anchor ought to run through a bow cleat or preferably a bow roller so that it keeps the bow into the wind.’
    • ‘I prepared with chafing gear and redundancy by having lines secured to multiple cleats in case one failed.’
    • ‘The ship creaked as it was released from the cleats holding it to the dock.’
    • ‘They watched as the sails were lowered, the lines tossed to dockworkers who tied bow, stern and spring lines to cleats lining the dock.’
    • ‘‘We've got a lot of boats moored along the river, tied to cleats,’ he says.’
    • ‘The correct way to attach to a mooring is to put one line through the mooring and bring it back to the same cleat and side as it started on.’
    • ‘In addition the cleats on both the docks and boats need to be upgraded.’
    • ‘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.’
  • 2Each of a number of projections on the sole of a shoe, designed to prevent the wearer losing their footing.

    • ‘Independent of the frame, it is a function of your shoe size, tire size, crank length and cleat position - the latter three being things you can change.’
    • ‘One of the most-convenient aspects of the SPD-R design is that cleat adjustments can be done while the shoe is still clipped in (but obviously not while riding).’
    • ‘Specialized cycling shoes use toe clips or sole cleats to attach the stiff shoes to the pedals; a correct fit can prevent foot and ankle problems.’
    • ‘I never once slipped off the pedal while trying to lock in as I have done with metal to metal cleats and pedals on other systems.’
    • ‘Locker room attendants have the member's clubs polished and ready to go, shoes shined, and new cleats applied.’
    • ‘The dancer wears special shoes with metal cleats so that when the toe or heel is tapped on the floor it makes a distinctive percussive sound.’
    • ‘The soles of my good summer shoes are peeling away and the worn out cleats are frozen in my trusty Airwalks.’
    • ‘You can get started on rocky, technical sections and keep pedaling with plenty to support your foot as you work your cleat into position to clip in.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Normally when a shop puts cleats on shoes (in my experience), they line the center up (fore and aft) with the second metatarsal bone, more or less right at the ball of the foot.’
    • ‘To eliminate undue stress, your cleats should be positioned so the ball of your foot is directly over the axle of the pedal.’
    • ‘To make cycling easier on your knees, shoe cleats must put your feet at their natural angle.’
    • ‘They also work with shims on the shoe sole under the cleats.’
    • ‘Aligning the cleat, shoe, and pedal can be done without constantly clipping and unclipping.’
    • ‘To compensate for the loss of grip with the neoprene decking, most snowshoes also have a metal cleat for grip under the ball of the foot.’
    • ‘Soccer players should also wear shoes with cleats or ribbed soles to prevent slipping.’
    • ‘If you are using toe clips, look for shoes that accept the old-style slotted cleat, which will help you pedal with 360 degrees of power.’
    • ‘The position of your cleats on your cycling shoes determines the comfort of your feet, ankles, knees, hips and back.’
    1. 2.1North American Athletic shoes with cleats on the soles.
      • ‘I looked down at Rizza's feet and noticed that she was wearing her cleats and on each shoe was seven small spikes.’
      • ‘He shows no signs of slowing down at the age of 35, when most players have traded their cleats for slippers or golf spikes.’
      • ‘Remember that cleats, sports shoes and high heels can dent any floor surface.’
      • ‘Players are required to bring moulded cleats and running shoes for the training and evaluation exercises, which will take place on Fieldturf.’
      • ‘Another feature of the cleat retains one of the best features of SPD-R cleats, namely walkability.’
      • ‘I had put a change of clothes along with my cleats and shin guards in my locker the day before.’
      • ‘A group of soccer fanatics laced up their cleats Friday for what they fully intend to be a world-record-setting, 26-hour match.’
      • ‘He bowed out of the major championships at the Old Course wearing rubber cleats and carrying a space-age driver made from titanium in his bag.’
      • ‘Gymnasts use chalk on their hands to reduce friction; soccer players lace up cleats to increase friction so that they might have better traction while running.’
      • ‘The lights shone down upon us as our cleats clanked against the metal bleachers.’
      • ‘On the floor were several shoe racks filled with sandals, cleats, for softball, and tennis shoes.’
      • ‘When you think about Brazil, soccer cleats probably come to mind before dance slippers.’
      • ‘And, not to be forgotten, they earn gazillions of dollars every time they lace up their cleats and shamble out to the field of play.’
      • ‘He wore a simple brown shirt and baggy jeans over his thin frame, and his shoes looked like soccer cleats - without the cleat part.’
      • ‘He was dressed for soccer, too, with regular athletic socks on with his cleats, instead of the standard soccer gear.’
      • ‘I saw cleats, track spikes, wedding and prom-fancy pumps, reef walkers, scrubs, ballet slippers, figure skates, and one pair of Uggs.’
      • ‘You took off your cleats, ready to change into tennis shoes.’
      • ‘Cathlyn tied her cleat laces a little tighter and then stood up.’
      • ‘I notice that my metal cleats can make a really interesting rhythm when I clack them on the cold smooth cement floor.’
      • ‘He carried his black Nike bag that held his clothes, cleats, and his soccer ball.’
    2. 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’
      • ‘When a rider can't disengage his cleats from the pedals before falling over, it's called a foot fault.’
      • ‘Go for a quick test ride in soft tennis shoes to rule out cleat/pedal interface issues.’
      • ‘Aligning the cleat, shoe, and pedal can be done without constantly clipping and unclipping.’
      • ‘This accident is a reminder to check cleats and pedals for wear.’
      • ‘On a bike, the shoe/cleat connection is the point from which all power and biomechanical stability originate.’
    3. 2.3A projecting wedge on a spar or other part of a ship, to prevent slipping.
      • ‘The cleats give the metal edges another level of defense against wind uplift.’
    4. 2.4A small wedge, especially one on a plough or scythe.


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.