Main definitions of pedal in English

: pedal1pedal2

pedal1

noun

  • 1Each of a pair of foot-operated levers used for powering a bicycle or other vehicle propelled by the legs.

    • ‘However, every pair of pedals except his bent ones felt weird to him!’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It's time to get a new pair of mountain bike pedals and I was wondering how I can find out which ones have truly free float.’
    • ‘She grabbed the small bike from its resting place against the chimney and with one foot on the pedal propelled it to the gate.’
    • ‘I put more power to the pedals, but my legs felt heavy and Annie climbed away, now 20 yards ahead.’
    • ‘When you stop pedaling, level the pedals so you can more easily shift your weight to steer, instead of moving the bar.’
    • ‘He paused to adjust his gear lever and glance down at his pedals.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Another moviegoer left his shoes, and a third his bike pedal.’
    • ‘When he stands on the pedals of a trainer-mounted bicycle, he has a healthy saturation level.’
    • ‘I removed the pedals, brakes, cables, the front tire and the straight handlebar.’
    • ‘The rider sits on a saddle, propels the vehicle by means of pedals, and steers with handlebars on the front wheel.’
    • ‘The vixen had a small white tip to her tail, and also a splash of white on the front of each paw which caused her feet to flicker in the bright glare like reflectors on bicycle pedals.’
    • ‘If the water is real deep, try ratcheting your pedals by doing quarter pedal strokes.’
    • ‘The pedal of his bicycle tore into the calf of his leg and he required two operations, on Friday and Saturday, to clean and stitch the gaping wound.’
    • ‘That's the best position to use gravity to your advantage by letting your weight drop down onto the pedals and power you up the climb.’
    • ‘The pedals and gear lever are ideally placed, adding to the agreeable feeling of a design thoroughly researched and carefully implemented.’
    • ‘I was wobbly and unsure of myself as I pushed down on the pedal, propelling the bike slowly forward.’
    • ‘Pedaling was accomplished by levers or off-set pedals, and gearing was added, thus compensating for speed loss.’
    • ‘This triangle represents the three spots of contact we have with our bicycles; the handlebars, the seat, and the pedals.’
  • 2A foot-operated throttle, brake, or clutch control in a motor vehicle.

    [as modifier] ‘a brake pedal’
    • ‘‘A lot of people use the clutch and the brake pedal in the wrong order,’ said Smyth.’
    • ‘This has resulted in the car getting a whole new steering system and a slightly revised brake pedal with shorter travel.’
    • ‘The throttle pedal is smooth and not at all jerky.’
    • ‘The driving position is pretty good, even if the pedals are a little offset to the left.’
    • ‘Second, the brake and master cylinder rotate as the front end deforms, moving the clutch and brake pedal forward.’
    • ‘Initially I had trouble with the accelerator and brake pedals.’
    • ‘There is lots of power but I found the accelerator and brake pedals were too close together.’
    • ‘All he did was touch the clutch while going downhill, instead of keeping his feet well clear of the pedals and allowing the vehicle to trundle down in low-ratio first gear.’
    • ‘The driving position is exceptionally comfortable, with everything from steering wheel to seat to pedals to gear lever ideally positioned for the average person.’
    • ‘The large flat dash and the amount of room given to the driver, including acres of space beside the clutch pedal, add to this feeling.’
    • ‘He thrusts the gas pedal to the floor and it burns rubber and takes off.’
    • ‘Things I really liked about the interior include the power adjustable pedals, easy fold rear seats, and a truly fab navigation system.’
    • ‘Ford also has stressed new adjustable pedals for making the vehicles more comfortable for women drivers.’
    • ‘The gear lever was at his right hand, the brake in the throttle pedal's usual place.’
    • ‘The engine could then be restarted when the driver takes his foot off the brake pedal.’
    • ‘His feet buried the clutch and brake pedal into the floorboard.’
    • ‘I shall not be able to manage a clutch pedal and stick shift for ever, and I know it.’
    • ‘Further tests are planned on gas, brake and clutch pedals.’
    • ‘I'd also like a brake pedal rather than a brake switch.’
    • ‘Skelton said investigators determined that a large rock was put on the gas pedal, the vehicle slipped into gear and sent over a cliff.’
  • 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.

    • ‘He uses rubato more liberally, and also the sustaining pedal.’
    • ‘In this period the piano was beginning to replace the harpsichord and clavichord in popularity, and allowed for new experimental sonorities and the use of the sustaining pedal.’
    • ‘Arrange your feet on the soft and sustaining pedals in readiness to carry out instructions - always clearly marked in the score.’
    • ‘During performance, most students will need to stand while depressing the damper pedal to access the interior of the piano.’
    • ‘Frequently the pedal of the piano is held down for many minutes.’
    • ‘The recordings capture the sound of his fingers on the keys, the depression of the pedals, and the click of the microphone as it turns off.’
    • ‘Some of the tonal increases, however require better use of the sustaining pedal.’
    • ‘The big sounds of Brahms go out in smudges, the pedals drowning them in an effort to be loud and large.’
    • ‘Part of Gould's achievement is that his refusal to use the sustaining pedal puts the guts back into Bach.’
    • ‘Bobby battled through a concert even though gout prevented him from working the piano's pedals.’
    • ‘Technically, Miss Stein's economy of commas may be compared with a complete renunciation of the pedal in playing the piano.’
    • ‘She also is unafraid to be generous with the pedal, yet clarity isn't sacrificed.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘When she played Satie on her own, I noticed she used the sustaining pedal sparingly.’
    • ‘The pedal plays a large role in creating a musical perception of legato, and for small-handed pianists, it is indispensable.’
    • ‘I took the speaker and sat it on the sustain pedal of a grand piano so the strings were all open.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘We may not reach sight reading at all during his lesson because he needs so much help using the damper pedal correctly during one of his repertoire pieces.’
    • ‘Today I asked your child to depress the right pedal, to stop the action of the dampers so that the strings could vibrate freely.’
    • ‘He could sustain long, singing legato lines without becoming dependent on the pedal.’
    1. 3.1A foot-operated lever on other musical instruments, such as an organ.
      • ‘The organ is played with the help of keyboard and foot pedals.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, you are perched in a pleasant enough, mildly elevated driving position whose only disadvantage is that it causes you to stamp down on the foot controls slightly, as if you were operating the pedals on a church organ.’
      • ‘This implementation enables you to create a true dual-manual organ with bass pedals, a swell pedal and faders to control the drawbars.’
      • ‘It is usually associated with the organ, although it proves originally to have been intended for the harpsichord with pedals.’
      • ‘The same format was often imitated at the organ, the pedal taking the bass and the manuals the treble lines.’
      • ‘This Hassler's chief excellence on the organ consists in his foot-work, which, since the pedals are graded here, is not so very wonderful.’
      • ‘He was replaced by guitarist Paul Ducann, whilst Crane took up bass duties using the bass pedals of his trusty Hammond organ.’
    2. 3.2A foot-operated device for producing a sound effect on an electric guitar.
      • ‘Jeff grinned as he stomped on a few switches on his distortion pedal, and a second later was pounding out the heavy rift.’
      • ‘Solid-body guitars were combined with new sonic modification devices such as distortion boxes and wah-wah pedals.’
      • ‘The guitarist fiddled with various electronic devices and guitar pedals throughout the show, showing great musical versatility.’
      • ‘He plugged it into his amp and tried a few different effects from his pedal - the guitar sounded like a dream.’
      • ‘‘We do use effect pedals like anybody else would,’ Sasso says.’
      • ‘They are a country outfit with a lead foot on the distortion pedal.’
      • ‘Robinson's use of analog mixing boards and guitar pedals leaves an essence of loving care to each of the eleven songs on the album.’
      • ‘The band looks confused, their pedals keep making funny noises, their vocals come and go.’
      • ‘The distortion pedals aren't used as much on their new album.’
      • ‘I was pretty surprised he didn't break out a wah-wah pedal before it ended.’
      • ‘If I recorded a song using a guitar pedal that sounded really dodgy, would you accept my excuse that ‘it can't be perfect’?’
      • ‘How often do you see an acoustic guitar grumped up through a distortion pedal?’
      • ‘In high school, I started dabbling around with the guitar and some other instruments, alongside my experiments with turntables, pedals, samplers and four-track recorders.’
      • ‘She struggled through about 30 minutes playing guitar through a wah-wah pedal and quickly headed for the exit.’
    3. 3.3
      short for pedal note

verb

  • 1[no object, with adverbial of direction] Move by working the pedals of a bicycle.

    ‘they pedalled along the canal towpath’
    • ‘The six-day bike trip saw Chris pedalling 120 miles-per-day.’
    • ‘That afternoon, as we pedalled around the blue lake (so called for the clarity of its waters), Leonard voiced some concern about the wedding.’
    • ‘Two girls on bikes with baskets pedalled along the towpath.’
    • ‘As we pedalled along we talked about anything and everything.’
    • ‘One of the reasons I like cycling is that you can get into long reveries while pedalling along.’
    • ‘She was back on her bicycle pedaling all around town.’
    • ‘Not really accustomed to winter biking, I gingerly pedalled down an alley on the packed snow, and unexpectedly gathered speed.’
    • ‘I took a last slug of the water in my bottle, hopped back on the bike, and pedalled merrily home.’
    • ‘She was pedalling straight into a heavy wind, and it was tough going.’
    • ‘As I pedaled along, slowly to enjoy the morning, I noticed a park bench whose legs were submerged in the dark lake waters.’
    • ‘On what was the hottest day of our trip we pedalled along quite happily.’
    • ‘I doggedly pedaled along but I was so not enjoying this little excursion.’
    • ‘He pedals to the barbershop, to his doctor appointments, to visit his friends and go out to lunch.’
    • ‘The man just nodded, climbed on his bicycle and pedaled away.’
    • ‘The girl told the inquest: ‘Sam turned his bike round and started pedalling off.’’
    • ‘On a borrowed a bicycle, he pedals over hills and along dirt roads, encountering impenetrable characters and glimpses of his own nature.’
    • ‘I straddled my bicycle and pedaled off to Emily's farm.’
    • ‘You can see cyclists pedalling along, chatting away happily.’
    • ‘In the last few weeks, two groups of long-distance bicycle trekkers have pedaled through town, and another is making plans to depart soon.’
    • ‘When the girls came pedalling along in the Bordeaux race - all legs and flowing hair - they were a sensation.’
    1. 1.1[with object and adverbial of direction]Move (a bicycle) by working its pedals.
      ‘she was pedalling a bicycle around town’
      • ‘I'm now 26 years old yet I can still clearly hear the jokes of my brother, while he pedaled his bike towards our neighborhood’
      • ‘They allow those adults to pedal the trike around in the water.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘One man stares at it dangerously while pedalling his bicycle along the road.’
      • ‘On Monday as I drove along the Esplanade, I noticed a blond girl following behind a two or three year old toddler pedalling a bike along the path.’
      • ‘John, the guy from Brooklyn who pedals his bike over every weekend, would teach my gangly boy how to assert himself under the boards.’
      • ‘There were also the lovely old bikes, penny farthings and boneshakers being pedalled around.’
      • ‘By age 3, children delight in chasing and being chased, using playground equipment, pedaling a small tricycle, and trying new forms of locomotion such as galloping and trotting.’
      • ‘I would pedal my bike up back roads to visit them, and they would teach me radio.’
      • ‘It is very difficult to pedal a bicycle in long skirts and petticoats.’
      • ‘Many of the emails we received chronicled scandalous miscarriages of justice such as the chap clocked at 83 mph while pedalling a bicycle down the A12.’
      • ‘Between piano lessons and shooting hoops, the boy pedaled his bike to the friend's house over several evenings to work on the site's content.’
      • ‘Earl stayed through college, pedaling his bike several miles to and from K-State and earning a degree in sociology and psychology.’
      • ‘Because a rider has very little mechanical advantage if the bike is in 15th gear, the bike would be very hard to pedal, and it would take a while to get up to speed.’
      • ‘Crammed into sweltering buses and sleek subway cars, pedaling their rusty bikes, they swarm to work.’
      • ‘Begin moving your legs in a circular motion, as if pedaling a bicycle.’
      • ‘Anyway I was pedaling my bike down the street last weekend after softball practice, and a bug flew into my mouth.’
      • ‘Chelsea pedaled her bike past Danny's house for the seventh time, and tried not to make it obvious that she was looking for him.’
      • ‘Warm and sunny, and I can still feel the radiating heat of the sun working on the muscles of my back as I pedalled my bicycle through the park, across the road from my house.’
      • ‘One delight, as long as it is not too early in the morning, is that everybody, from chambermaids to handymen, make their way around the property pedalling a bicycle and singing sweetly.’
    2. 1.2[no object]Work the pedals of a bicycle.
      ‘he was coming down the path on his bike, pedalling hard’
      • ‘Donny pedaled harder and harder until he could feel his leg muscles burn into knots.’
      • ‘The weather was getting progressively worse, making it harder to pedal, but those in the lead kept pushing all the way to the finish.’
      • ‘The rider then has a choice: to stop the bike or to pedal faster.’
      • ‘It's very hard to keep pedalling, even in the lowest gear and I couldn't complete it without stopping several times.’
      • ‘Then I had to pedal on a bike for 10 minutes while she gradually beefed up the resistance and monitored my heart rate.’
      • ‘He glances at his left wrist, gauging how hard he should pedal and how long he can last.’
      • ‘It shifts smoothly, almost regardless of how hard you're pedaling.’
      • ‘He pedaled as hard as he could, and it wasn't enough, so he pedaled harder.’
      • ‘She pedals with full-out effort for just under a minute.’
      • ‘The anarchists sped down Clarendon, followed by 30 uniformed Boston policemen pedaling hard.’
      • ‘I do intervals on the stationary bike, pedaling for 30 seconds as hard as I can and then easing up for 30 seconds, and so on.’
      • ‘One way of detecting a bent crank or a bent pedal spindle is to pedal backwards.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She's not a competitive girl, but if anyone passes us she gets all antsy and starts pedaling real hard and says, ‘Dad!’’
      • ‘Make your climbs more difficult by pedaling harder each time you head back up.’
      • ‘As long as you keep pedalling, you won't fall over, and as long as you steer, you won't run into anything.’
      • ‘When you stop pedaling, level the pedals so you can more easily shift your weight to steer, instead of moving the bar.’
      • ‘I was riding, and the harder I pedalled, the faster I went.’
      • ‘When not pedalling, always keep your pedals level.’
      • ‘The chain was rusty and it was hard to pedal, but it was all we could afford.’
  • 2[no object] Use the pedals of a piano, organ, etc., especially in a particular style.

    ‘Chopin gave no indications of pedalling in his manuscript’
    • ‘Pizarro manages to combine these romantic emotional extremes with unusual clarity, bringing out lines that can often be marred and mushed by foggy sustain pedalling.’
    • ‘These boundaries give students time to focus on the many details of the score; articulation, fingering, pedaling, note and rhythmic accuracy are achieved in a much more dependable fashion.’
    • ‘A roll was fitted in behind the front panel of the piano and then all the ‘pianist’ had to do was to pedal to keep the music flowing.’
    • ‘The student will enjoy exploring the many colors of piano dynamics, voicing and pedaling.’
    • ‘This is a terrific showpiece for the pianist who loves to explore exotic sounds, experiment with subtle shadings and pedaling, and create a stylized tableau with careful articulation and voicing control.’
    • ‘They are well edited, with pedal markings that help the student realize the special effects pedaling needed for a jazz styling, and adequate but not overdone fingerings.’
    • ‘Skills such as shaping of line, pedaling, wrist rotation, voicing and chord playing can be easily incorporated into the piano lesson.’
    • ‘Given the ludicrously slow tempo and poor pedaling he imposes throughout, he is not even remotely up to the work's complex technical demands.’
    • ‘The composer provides clear indications for dynamics, pedaling and phrasing.’
    • ‘‘Scherzo’ requires lightness in fingerwork and pedaling.’
    • ‘He made something veiled and mysterious of the central fugue, and his virtuoso pedalling in the work's later stages was impressive.’
    • ‘But there are too many variables such as speed and pedaling that are not accurately duplicated.’
    • ‘When a pianist actually looks at the damper action while pedaling, or watches the hammers strike the string for only a split second, her body will shift to a more kinesthetic, intuitive and efficient mode.’
    • ‘Here the rapid development of the piano was important, with its expanding range of pitch and dynamics and the effects made possible by pedalling.’
    • ‘Part One is titled ‘In the Practice Room’ and discusses sound, touch, technique, articulation, phrasing, timing, pedaling and practicing.’

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 meaning ‘move by working the pedals of a bicycle’ (they pedalled along the road). Peddle, on the other hand, is a verb meaning ‘sell goods or promote an idea’ (he peddled printing materials around the countryshe 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

    • 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’
      • ‘So what if he gets driven around with the pedal to the metal?’
      • ‘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.’

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.

Pronunciation:

pedal

/ˈpɛd(ə)l/

Main definitions of pedal in English

: pedal1pedal2

pedal2

adjective

Medicine Zoology
  • Relating to the foot or feet.

    • ‘Scaphopods burrow by projecting their foot into the substrate and contracting pedal retractor muscles to pull the animal downward.’
    • ‘There was some pedal oedema with good pedal pulses.’
    • ‘The legendary Arkle was the King George VI champion in 1965 but during the following year's race he broke a pedal bone.’
    • ‘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.

Pronunciation:

pedal

/ˈpiːd(ə)l/