Main definitions of paddle in English

: paddle1paddle2

paddle1

noun

  • 1A short pole with a broad blade at one or both ends, used without a rowlock to move a small boat or canoe through the water.

    ‘we dug in deep with our paddles’
    as modifier ‘paddle strokes’
    • ‘As they arrive at the village the night before a race, or line up the canoes at the beginning of the race, the paddlers sing songs and move their paddles up and down, giving a sumptuous display of colour and movement.’
    • ‘The oldest such finds, including wooden canoes and paddles, come from northern Europe and date to at most 9,000 years ago.’
    • ‘The Pemon also make wooden dugout and bark canoes, paddles, and bows, and they weave hammocks and baby carriers.’
    • ‘At the crack of dawn, as you slice through the calm river with quiet paddle strokes, your canoe glides upstream through a bank of fog that will slowly burn off with each cast of your fishing rod.’
    • ‘The steady dip and sweep of canoe paddles in the calm water is mesmerizing.’
    • ‘With a stroke of the paddle the Canadian canoe glides successfully through the last of the rapids and out onto a huge pool.’
    • ‘The paddles dipped into the water and the canoe pushed into the opening to the sewer.’
    • ‘As the two little craft pulled through the Gap, Guardian received a salute of raised paddles from the canoe, the tender lifting its oars on the gunwales for one stroke before resuming its rhythm.’
    • ‘Under a blanket of darkness, we set off in our twin-hulled craft, paddles slapping at the water, as Nitish sang devotional songs.’
    • ‘As they walked and sang, they moved the paddles up and down imitating the movement of a racing canoe and giving a magnificent display of colour.’
    • ‘Telli gave one last stroke on his paddle as they moved out of the shade of the trees into bright sunlight, then stopped, leaving the canoe gliding on through glassy calm water.’
    • ‘When forward paddling, slice your paddle into the water in front of you and pull it toward your hip like you're trying to retrieve a leaf on the surface.’
    • ‘I let the canoe drift with the current, trailing my paddle in the mocha-colored water.’
    • ‘One of the most unusual yet innovative section award winners came from the Shearwater Team, who developed a canoe paddle based on the bio-mechanical properties of a bird's foot.’
    • ‘The piece incorporates some of the images and experiences of Essadiqi's river adventures, as dancers interact with large floating wooden poles that represent paddles.’
    • ‘It was so big that Newman had to use a canoe paddle from his river boat to stir it.’
    • ‘Canoe Polo is a swimming pool-based sport played in a short, stable canoe using manoeuvrable polo paddles.’
    • ‘But the preferred stroke of Phelps, a man with a 6ft 7in armspan, hands like canoe paddles and an ability to fly through water, was yet to come.’
    • ‘There were four paddles inside the canoe, and the four soldiers each took one.’
    • ‘He swept his paddle over the water, indicating the whole lot.’
    oar, scull, sweep, blade, spoon, spade
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 An act of paddling a boat.
      ‘a gentle paddle on sluggish water’
      • ‘There are some interesting features (previously unknown) on this new route such as a fresh water pool which will no doubt become a favorite spot for a swim or paddle.’
      • ‘The event called the Mars Challenge, comprised of a demanding 20 km run, 78 km cycle and a 32 km kayak paddle.’
      • ‘A typical morning workout consists of a 12-kilometer paddle, a 10k run, and weight training.’
      • ‘After dinner and some fly casting tuition from Barry, Dan and I take a canoe out for a paddle on the wetland.’
      • ‘The pool is a great place for a swim, paddle or just to sit beside and enjoy the ripple of the water.’
      • ‘Launch at Hana Bay for a short paddle around tranquil waters and surrounding coves.’
      • ‘The first stage is a 52 km paddle that is expected to take six to 12 hours.’
    2. 1.2 A paddle-shaped instrument used for mixing food, or stirring or mixing in industrial processes.
      • ‘An old fashioned metal ice cream scoop or a flat metal paddle scoop works well to clean out the inside of a pumpkin.’
      • ‘For the rose petal cream: In bowl of food processor fitted with paddle, cream buttercream and butter until fluffy.’
      • ‘Add this to the batter and mix just until smooth - a few turns of the paddle should do it.’
      • ‘The person behind the counter slaps a scoop of ice cream onto a chilled marble slab, throws some cookie crumbs or chopped nuts on top, and mixes the whole thing together using flat paddles.’
    3. 1.3North American A short-handled bat used in table tennis.
      • ‘Each half is 10 minutes and the aim of the game is to score goals using the paddles or the hand.’
      • ‘Yes, the paddle is allowed to block the ball and you can bump the ball forward to the direction you wish to travel, but you're not allowed to take a swing at it, you're not allowed to treat it like a cricket bat.’
      • ‘One type of paddle ball uses a heavy two-pound (one-kilogram) ball and appropriately large paddles with spikes.’
      • ‘Kiara stuck her nose up in the air and marched past him, uncovering the ping-pong table along with its paddles and balls.’
      • ‘He had a small red ball, the kind that at one time had been attached to a wooden paddle by a rubber string.’
      • ‘Buy toys, like Frisbees, kites, or sports equipment such as Velcro paddles and tennis balls.’
      • ‘Over the years, Peet has seen the game increase in speed, the players increase in size, briefcases replace wallets, and paddles replace goalie sticks.’
      • ‘During that time, Nebulon continued to whack the small, pink rubber ball against the wooden paddle.’
      • ‘André was interested in all sports, whether they involved balls, pucks, paddles or pedals.’
      • ‘Indeed, some glues used on paddles, as they are commonly known, are banned in international competition because they can make the ball travel up to 30 mph faster than usual.’
    4. 1.4North American informal A paddle-shaped instrument used to administer corporal punishment.
      • ‘The paddles turned out to be harmless slapsticks, with holes through the actual paddle part so they could cause a loud slapping noise without hurting.’
      • ‘Until then the Bradford Christian School, founded in Idle in 1993, had used a paddle or wooden ruler to discipline children.’
      • ‘Oklahoma school administrators say that while corporal punishment remains legal in the state, they rarely reach for the paddle.’
    5. 1.5 Each of the boards fitted round the circumference of a paddle wheel or mill wheel.
      • ‘The vessel has a split stern wheel and each is run by a twin diesel engine that powers hydraulic motors which turn the paddles.’
      • ‘The "Willamette Queen" was designed as a scaled down likeness of the former Mississippi and Yukon Territory Riverboats with paddles that really do propel her.’
    6. 1.6 The fin or flipper of an aquatic mammal or bird.
      • ‘The limbs are modified to form large, relatively rigid paddles.’
      • ‘The forelimbs and hindlimbs are transformed into paddles.’
      • ‘Some of the most frequent gross morphological adaptations to an aquatic lifestyle include the modifications of limbs into paddles and the elongation and lateral flattening of the tail.’
      • ‘Their wing bones are fused into a stiff paddle that enables them to hover at a bloom while drinking.’
      • ‘It appears from their architecture that the entire distal limb, not just the hands and feet, was used as a paddle.’
      • ‘Those on land have short sturdy legs, while those living in marine environments possess powerful flippers, or paddles, for swimming.’
      • ‘Swimming crabs can easily be recognized by the fact that their hindmost legs have developed into ‘swimmerets’, paddle shaped at the ends so that they can be used for propulsion.’
      • ‘The legs were semi-flattened to serve as paddles, but the hips and shoulders were still powerful and functional enough to provide support on land.’
      • ‘Unlike other marine reptiles, Plesiosaurs have relatively small tails, but large and powerful paddles, so it is assumed that the latter were used in creating thrust.’
  • 2A flat array of solar cells projecting from a spacecraft.

    • ‘Duplicate solar paddles complete the configuration, which is similar to an ocean buoy's.’
    • ‘The Nimbus-7 weighs 965 kilograms, is 3.04 meters tall, 1.52 meters in diameter at the base and 3.96 meters wide with solar paddles fully extended.’
  • 3Medicine
    A plastic-covered electrode used in cardiac stimulation.

    • ‘You may have seen TV shows in which a hospital worker or paramedic ‘shocks’ an unconscious person out of cardiac arrest with a pair of electrified paddles.’
    • ‘Tia closed her eyes as the doctor pressed the paddles onto her mother's body.’
    • ‘Holding the paddles, Donna looks over at the heart monitor.’
    • ‘Kate saw Stephen's body jerk as they administered the paddles to his bare chest.’
    • ‘During activation the paddle is thought to move into a more upright position, displacing charge through the membrane.’

verb

  • 1no object, with adverbial of direction Move through the water in a boat using a paddle or paddles.

    ‘she paddled along the coast’
    with object ‘he was teaching trainees to paddle canoes’
    • ‘The crew of nine paddled out on smaller boats in order to reach the island.’
    • ‘My dad got me started paddling along with the help of one of my really good friend Jesse Lakes who for my first six years boating has helped me get into my drytop and put my spray skirt on the boat for me.’
    • ‘Elizabeth paddled around in the boat all morning, looking for any work she could find.’
    • ‘Huck runs back to the canoe and paddles back to Jim in the cavern.’
    • ‘Pablo Nuñez Perez, a Kuna who married an English girl and lived in England for seven years, paddled out in a dugout canoe (called an ulu) to welcome us.’
    • ‘Days pass in adventure, paddling in dugout canoes or hiking through the rainforest with a guide from the village who points out leaves used to poison fish, or to make a maiden love you, and roots to enlarge your manhood.’
    • ‘After a terrific downpour, the storm is over as quickly as it began, and we return to paddling along the lake, although now a chilly wind has sprung up, which if nothing else succeeds in getting me to paddle a bit more earnestly.’
    • ‘Whenever she had the opportunity, she would go down to the water, unstrap her canoe, and paddle out to a likely spot to do some fishing.’
    • ‘Take a small boat or canoe and paddle around for a few hours.’
    • ‘Very likely the Abenakis paddled along the Merrimac River for a stretch of the expedition.’
    • ‘It was good to stroke and paddle through the endless sea green of Emerald Bay.’
    • ‘The beaches are among the world's finest, with soft, silver sand and water so clear you can spot rays and swordfish while paddling along the shore.’
    • ‘If you want to get fit and be healthy on vacation, you can swim, paddle, surf, or run to your heart's content.’
    • ‘There was little current here, and the canoe cut easily through the water as Telli paddled on upstream.’
    • ‘So, fifteen minutes later, Tor, Spencer, John, and Wolf were paddling out onto the lake in a canoe.’
    • ‘Unless some other canoe is in sight, one paddles along with a sense of solitude amid the mountains and the woods.’
    • ‘In May they will paddle away from the coast of Japan at the start of a 5,000-mile row across the Pacific to America.’
    • ‘The coast is enshrouded with fog - out of the fog there is this lobster boat, and we paddled up to it.’
    • ‘The navy rowers paddled with Rattapphumi from Sattahip along the coast to Bang Chang and Rayong before saying goodbye and allowing Rattapphumi to complete his journey.’
    • ‘Swept along, we paddled furiously to miss the many boulders that appeared in front of us.’
    row gently, pull, scull
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1with object Propel a boat along (a stretch of water) using paddles.
      ‘a legal right to paddle Scottish rivers’
      • ‘My nine-year-old, Sam, is somewhere in that poncho, paddling a zig-zagging course between the vine-cloaked banks of the quiet waterway.’
      • ‘When this system was specified in the late 1980s, the ADF was paddling uncharted waters as there was no comparable system in service in any navy.’
      • ‘Somewhere near Healdsburg, 70 miles north of San Francisco, I'm paddling south on the Russian River.’
      • ‘David Kendall is an accomplished white-water navigator who recently paddled the upper Ottawa River in Canada.’
      • ‘Jim and Dr. Caulfield waved goodbye to Peter Bray and both men said they were honoured to have been the first people to see Peter Bray paddle his last fifty yards in water and walk his first hundred yards on land.’
      • ‘You might think paddling the outer coastline of BC to get some time alone to game might be extreme, but hey, it's one component in a pretty sweet package out there at the edge of the world.’
      • ‘In hand-hewn boats, these brave seafarers paddled their way from distant shores, traversing thousands of kilometres of open sea.’
      • ‘It was a nice treat to be paddling such a smooth section of the river, granted we would pass through some class II rapids, but for the most part just beautiful scenery.’
      • ‘Murphy is definitely paddling uncharted waters in Rapid City.’
      • ‘I can be found somewhere between Atlanta and DC riding a trail or paddling a river.’
      • ‘Their company was a warming experience and well worth a picture, as we paddled the last stretch of our journey.’
      • ‘We are both members of Edinburgh Kayak Club and have paddled many of the more challenging whitewater rivers in Scotland, such as the Orchy, the Etive, the Bran, and even the legendary Falls of Lora.’
      • ‘While he paddled with me, I essentially paddled the entire distance myself.’
      • ‘Chris's café has sponsored its own canoe and some of her staff are planning to take it in turns to paddle the 100 km from Lismore to Ballina.’
      • ‘‘I like paddling the tight, technical rivers you find at altitude,’ he says.’
      • ‘Verne Huser steers his canoe past a cottonwood snag with the ease of a man who has paddled Western rivers for five decades.’
      • ‘Only a handful of people have ever paddled this river.’
      • ‘He led me to want to paddle many of the northern rivers that I've ended up paddling.’
      • ‘Some paragliding pilots liken their sport to paddling a Class V river while blindfolded.’
      • ‘The long haul to Fort William, with difficult winds and current between the Scottish islands, took nearly 42 hours, but they arrived third despite paddling the last few kilometres to the finish.’
    2. 1.2 (of bird or other animal) swim with short fast strokes.
      ‘the swan paddled away’
      • ‘Indeed, two adults with four little fuzzy yellow goslings were paddling around near the observation deck.’
      • ‘She tried to paddle with her hooves, but only managed to spin around in a tight circle.’
      • ‘We crossed a bridge over the Entrance Lake, where wild ducks paddled fearlessly and a very life-like statue of Sir Peter Scott stood gazing down at two bronze swans in the water.’
      • ‘There is much more wildlife everywhere, many kinds of ducks and waterfowl, paddling by the window of this houseboat at eye level.’
      • ‘Sure enough, the turtles paddled in different directions when exposed to different magnetic fields.’
      • ‘Nine inches long and screaming at the top of its lungs, the cat was paddling furiously.’
      • ‘Releasing the birds, inspector Martyn Fletcher was filled with pride as he watched the graceful creatures paddle into the distance but it was a different story four days earlier.’
      • ‘There is usually a duck pond there and our ducks are paddling around having a lovely time.’
      • ‘The video was looped, so that every few minutes the shadows passed by again and the ducks paddled across the canvas.’
      • ‘Cypress trunk flutings and druidlike knees rise everywhere, and mud turtles paddle clumsily through the talmin-mirrored waters.’
      • ‘At that moment a duck paddled near, and overhearing this, she laughed.’
      • ‘It's not surprising that every morning when the tide is high, the local swans paddle by in search of some home-baked bread.’
      • ‘There were no swans to paddle around on top of a mirror.’
      • ‘The pond was filled with wildlife, as there were red and yellow goldfish swimming about, ducks paddling about on the surface, meddling with the herons.’
      • ‘Guided by instinct, he paddled with his forepaws.’
      • ‘Cassidy crouched down by the water and grinned at the comical looking ducks as they paddled and preened themselves in the clear crystal water.’
      • ‘You're very likely to spot some turtles paddling about.’
      • ‘As he stood up, he saw the creature paddling along by the pier.’
      • ‘The woman, boating three miles off of the Gulf of Mexico, found this little kitten paddling furiously and meowing loudly.’
      • ‘‘They swam in the same rivers and streams that dinosaurs paddled in,’ he said.’
  • 2North American informal with object Beat (someone) with a paddle as a punishment.

    ‘ask the mother if she minds the offspring getting paddled from time to time’
    • ‘They paddle each other; they paddle evil-doers they capture; really the only person they never get to spank is Wonder Woman herself.’
    • ‘Finally, on the sixth hole, I went over to Nick and jokingly said, ‘Somebody must have paddled you with one of those when you were a kid.’’
    • ‘You were paddled in school, and you were occasionally, as you put it, ‘whipped by [your] daddy.’’

Phrases

  • paddle one's own canoe

    • informal Be independent and self-sufficient.

      ‘she plunged into work, she'd got to paddle her own canoe’
      • ‘Well in 1986 we lost our resident parish priest and so we had to start from there to paddle our own canoe so to speak.’
      • ‘With a film in the Toronto International Film Festival, television projects in the works and the play Matt & Ben opening next month, this is a Canadian company that paddles its own canoe.’
      • ‘As a single parent in the 80s, working full time and paying for childcare, paddling my own canoe, could I possibly ask Gina Waite to sent me a form so I could apply for ‘back pamper pay’?’
      • ‘We received very little guidance from the head office of the DM, which had no form of constitution for branches, and we have very largely paddled our own canoe.’
      • ‘In any case, neither three months nor 10 months is a terribly long period of time, and this girl does not exactly inspire trust, so Prudie suggests you leave her to paddle her own canoe, as it were.’
      • ‘Following my Dad's advice to ‘Love many, trust a few and always paddle your own canoe,’ I'm Warwick Hadfield.’
      • ‘If there is any such thing as justice the county councillors will row in behind us on this one, but if not then we are going to have to go and paddle our own canoe all the way to the Boundary Commission.’
      • ‘‘K.B. has to paddle his own canoe,’ Rooney says.’
      • ‘It seems, it doesn't hurt to take time out to paddle your own canoe.’

Origin

Late Middle English (denoting a small spade-like implement): of unknown origin. Current senses date from the 17th century.

Pronunciation

paddle

/ˈpad(ə)l/

Main definitions of paddle in English

: paddle1paddle2

paddle2

verb

[no object]
  • 1Walk with bare feet in shallow water.

    ‘the children paddled at the water's edge’
    • ‘As Max paddled in a shallow swimming pool, he slipped and fell under water for a matter of moments, before his father lifted him out.’
    • ‘Most people only paddle in the water there, which is perfectly safe.’
    • ‘Ball games were arranged and the pupils were allowed to go paddling but not swimming.’
    • ‘They were also urging people to avoid contact with contaminated water and stop children paddling in it because it could cause illnesses such as gastroenteritis and Hepatitis A.’
    • ‘The youngster, who could not swim, was paddling in shallow water while three friends were swimming.’
    • ‘A great deal of splashing, paddling and sheer determination was evident as children swam their way to a staggering 83,380 baht in raised sponsorship money!’
    • ‘Her biggest fear, it has recently been revealed, is paddling in shallow water.’
    • ‘It's worth the hike - the scenery is fantastic and your final destination has a pretty beach to escape from your shoes and paddle.’
    • ‘As a result of tests taken by the complainants The South Eastern health Board recommended that signs be erected warning people not to bathe, paddle or wash utensils in the river at the Cove.’
    • ‘The £3.6m fountain in Hyde Park, London, was closed on July 22 after people slipped and were injured while paddling in the water.’
    • ‘Is it really the role of design to prevent kids paddling in shallow water, protecting them without engendering a sense of responsibility for their actions in either the children or their parents?’
    • ‘Thigh-high boots can be rented for serious gorge wading, or you can just paddle in the cool, refreshing waters.’
    • ‘The public has been advised not to swim or paddle in areas where algal scums are present and fishermen have been urged to avoid contact with water in areas where the algal scum is present.’
    • ‘People have come down to the water's edge to walk and paddle - seeking relief after the day's heat.’
    • ‘Next, she led me to the entrance proper, where we paddled through a shallow pool to cleanse our feet.’
    • ‘Here, you can laze on a beach lounger attended to by courteous, but discreet, staff, or paddle or swim in the tepid turquoise water.’
    • ‘The fountain exerts a hypnotic influence on children who are irresistibly drawn to remove their shoes and socks and go paddling in the water.’
    • ‘We took off our shoes, paddled in the water, made sand castles, collected sticks and shells, and examined the dead jellyfish washed up on the shore.’
    • ‘I sat under a lemon tree with two of my oldest and dearest friends while the kids paddled in the wading pool and drove plastic cars around the yard.’
    • ‘The four of us stayed for a couple of nights in the Rest House at Takoradi, which gave us a few hours to walk the beaches and paddle in the ocean, and to luxuriate in the fresh sea breezes after the heavy atmosphere of the interior.’
    splash about, wade
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Dabble the feet or hands in water.
      ‘Peter paddled idly in the water with his fingers’
      • ‘Aligore simply dipped one of his large paws into the water and began paddling.’
      • ‘‘Aye,’ agreed Lyenda, paddling her hand on the clean water, watching the rippling waves that she had made.’
      • ‘I watched as he watched his feet making small paddling movements along the water.’
      • ‘Two young girls - 11 or 12-walked to the water's edge and enjoyed paddling their feet.’
      • ‘But enemies you don't know are far more of a threat than those you do, and when paddling in alien waters, you have to be careful or else you might find your toes nipped by a school of feisty piranha.’

noun

British
  • An act of walking with bare feet in shallow water.

    ‘I went for a paddle’
    • ‘People passing by the war memorial gates in Malmesbury needs to wear Wellington boots or be prepared to go for a paddle.’
    • ‘Whether it be a well-wrapped walk on Christmas morning, or a barefoot paddle at the height of summer, the Back Strand at Streedagh is the place I visit most when at home.’
    • ‘Otherwise it's an undemanding walk or paddle between bays in one of the most beautiful and protected parts of New Zealand.’
    • ‘While the more adventurous, or foolhardy, jumped over the waterfalls, I went for a quick paddle to soothe my aching feet.’
    • ‘Only an attack by a voracious swarm of midges then spoilt a leisurely paddle under a warm, summer sun on a perfect, windless day.’
    • ‘Just as well it was cold, for otherwise she'd have stepped in for a paddle.’
    • ‘The beach at low tide stretches so far that to go for a paddle you must patter for a quarter of an hour across the stripy rippled sand, hardened by the retreating tide.’
    • ‘The rectangular lake looked a bit murky, and the spray from the fountain was quite fierce, but cooling off with a paddle in the cascade seemed just the ticket.’
    • ‘After lunch we went for a play on the sands and a paddle in the sea.’
    • ‘The stretch of path from town in the Keighley Road direction after rain is bad unless you are wearing Wellingtons or don't mind a paddle.’
    • ‘But the tide is set to come in a little later this year, so Mr Cooper is expecting a few more startled passers-by when they have a paddle at about 11 am.’
    • ‘Here, the path runs beside the river, which often tempts children in for a paddle.’
    • ‘It's one of the loveliest walks in the Lakes with shingle beaches where you can have a paddle and watch the yachts sail gracefully by or feed the birds on the lake.’
    • ‘And in the summer the otherwise icy Baltic Sea warms up nicely to allow even the most timid to have a paddle.’
    • ‘The river is relatively wide here and it is a pleasant spot for lunch and a paddle.’
    • ‘Joe had a paddle and Maggie dipped her feet into the children's paddling pool.’
    • ‘I'm going to take my cozzie up to the Hebrides when I go on holiday later this week, but the weather's supposed to be turning, so I'm not confident that I'll be able to go for more than an extended paddle.’
    • ‘If you're by the sea, feel the sand between your toes and go for a paddle or swim.’
    • ‘Cool down your toddler this summer by taking them for a paddle.’
    • ‘We parked surprisingly easily, and walked down steep steps to the beach, a mixture of sand and rock, for a paddle and a dig in the sand.’

Origin

Mid 16th century: of obscure origin; compare with Low German paddeln ‘tramp about’; the association with water remains unexplained.

Pronunciation

paddle

/ˈpad(ə)l/