Main definitions of pedal in English

: pedal1pedal2

pedal1

nounPlural pedals

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

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘However, every pair of pedals except his bent ones felt weird to him!’
    • ‘He paused to adjust his gear lever and glance down at his pedals.’
    • ‘The pedals and gear lever are ideally placed, adding to the agreeable feeling of a design thoroughly researched and carefully implemented.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Another moviegoer left his shoes, and a third his bike pedal.’
    • ‘Pedaling was accomplished by levers or off-set pedals, and gearing was added, thus compensating for speed loss.’
    • ‘I put more power to the pedals, but my legs felt heavy and Annie climbed away, now 20 yards ahead.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I removed the pedals, brakes, cables, the front tire and the straight handlebar.’
    • ‘When you stop pedaling, level the pedals so you can more easily shift your weight to steer, instead of moving the bar.’
    • ‘This triangle represents the three spots of contact we have with our bicycles; the handlebars, the seat, and the pedals.’
    • ‘When he stands on the pedals of a trainer-mounted bicycle, he has a healthy saturation level.’
    • ‘I was wobbly and unsure of myself as I pushed down on the pedal, propelling the bike slowly forward.’
    • ‘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.’
  • 2A foot-operated throttle, brake, or clutch control in a motor vehicle.

    ‘a brake pedal’
    • ‘The throttle pedal is smooth and not at all jerky.’
    • ‘The gear lever was at his right hand, the brake in the throttle pedal's usual place.’
    • ‘He thrusts the gas pedal to the floor and it burns rubber and takes off.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘His feet buried the clutch and brake pedal into the floorboard.’
    • ‘The driving position is exceptionally comfortable, with everything from steering wheel to seat to pedals to gear lever ideally positioned for the average person.’
    • ‘Further tests are planned on gas, brake and clutch pedals.’
    • ‘‘A lot of people use the clutch and the brake pedal in the wrong order,’ said Smyth.’
    • ‘Initially I had trouble with the accelerator and brake pedals.’
    • ‘I'd also like a brake pedal rather than a brake switch.’
    • ‘Second, the brake and master cylinder rotate as the front end deforms, moving the clutch and brake pedal forward.’
    • ‘There is lots of power but I found the accelerator and brake pedals were too close together.’
    • ‘Skelton said investigators determined that a large rock was put on the gas pedal, the vehicle slipped into gear and sent over a cliff.’
    • ‘Ford also has stressed new adjustable pedals for making the vehicles more comfortable for women drivers.’
    • ‘The driving position is pretty good, even if the pedals are a little offset to the left.’
    • ‘The engine could then be restarted when the driver takes his foot off the brake pedal.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Things I really liked about the interior include the power adjustable pedals, easy fold rear seats, and a truly fab navigation system.’
    • ‘I shall not be able to manage a clutch pedal and stick shift for ever, and I know it.’
    • ‘This has resulted in the car getting a whole new steering system and a slightly revised brake pedal with shorter travel.’
  • 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.’
    • ‘Today I asked your child to depress the right pedal, to stop the action of the dampers so that the strings could vibrate freely.’
    • ‘The pedal plays a large role in creating a musical perception of legato, and for small-handed pianists, it is indispensable.’
    • ‘Technically, Miss Stein's economy of commas may be compared with a complete renunciation of the pedal in playing the piano.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Frequently the pedal of the piano is held down for many minutes.’
    • ‘Arrange your feet on the soft and sustaining pedals in readiness to carry out instructions - always clearly marked in the score.’
    • ‘He could sustain long, singing legato lines without becoming dependent on the pedal.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Some of the tonal increases, however require better use of the sustaining pedal.’
    • ‘Bobby battled through a concert even though gout prevented him from working the piano's pedals.’
    • ‘Part of Gould's achievement is that his refusal to use the sustaining pedal puts the guts back into Bach.’
    • ‘I took the speaker and sat it on the sustain pedal of a grand piano so the strings were all open.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The big sounds of Brahms go out in smudges, the pedals drowning them in an effort to be loud and large.’
    • ‘When she played Satie on her own, I noticed she used the sustaining pedal sparingly.’
    • ‘She also is unafraid to be generous with the pedal, yet clarity isn't sacrificed.’
    • ‘During performance, most students will need to stand while depressing the damper pedal to access the interior of the piano.’
    1. 3.1 A foot-operated lever on other musical instruments, such as an organ.
      • ‘The organ is played with the help of keyboard and foot pedals.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He was replaced by guitarist Paul Ducann, whilst Crane took up bass duties using the bass pedals of his trusty Hammond organ.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It is usually associated with the organ, although it proves originally to have been intended for the harpsichord with pedals.’
      • ‘This implementation enables you to create a true dual-manual organ with bass pedals, a swell pedal and faders to control the drawbars.’
      • ‘The same format was often imitated at the organ, the pedal taking the bass and the manuals the treble lines.’
      lever, arm, bar
      View synonyms
    2. 3.2 A foot-operated device for producing a sound effect on an electric guitar.
      • ‘I was pretty surprised he didn't break out a wah-wah pedal before it ended.’
      • ‘Jeff grinned as he stomped on a few switches on his distortion pedal, and a second later was pounding out the heavy rift.’
      • ‘She struggled through about 30 minutes playing guitar through a wah-wah pedal and quickly headed for the exit.’
      • ‘‘We do use effect pedals like anybody else would,’ Sasso says.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The band looks confused, their pedals keep making funny noises, their vocals come and go.’
      • ‘He plugged it into his amp and tried a few different effects from his pedal - the guitar sounded like a dream.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 distortion pedals aren't used as much on their new album.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘They are a country outfit with a lead foot on the distortion pedal.’
    3. 3.3
      short for pedal note

verbpedalled, pedals, pedalling, pedaled, pedaling

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

    ‘they pedalled along the canal towpath’
    • ‘The man just nodded, climbed on his bicycle and pedaled away.’
    • ‘When the girls came pedalling along in the Bordeaux race - all legs and flowing hair - they were a sensation.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Two girls on bikes with baskets pedalled along the towpath.’
    • ‘On what was the hottest day of our trip we pedalled along quite happily.’
    • ‘I straddled my bicycle and pedaled off to Emily's farm.’
    • ‘He pedals to the barbershop, to his doctor appointments, to visit his friends and go out to lunch.’
    • ‘The girl told the inquest: ‘Sam turned his bike round and started pedalling off.’’
    • ‘The six-day bike trip saw Chris pedalling 120 miles-per-day.’
    • ‘Not really accustomed to winter biking, I gingerly pedalled down an alley on the packed snow, and unexpectedly gathered speed.’
    • ‘I doggedly pedaled along but I was so not enjoying this little excursion.’
    • ‘On a borrowed a bicycle, he pedals over hills and along dirt roads, encountering impenetrable characters and glimpses of his own nature.’
    • ‘You can see cyclists pedalling along, chatting away happily.’
    • ‘As we pedalled along we talked about anything and everything.’
    • ‘In the last few weeks, two groups of long-distance bicycle trekkers have pedaled through town, and another is making plans to depart soon.’
    • ‘As I pedaled along, slowly to enjoy the morning, I noticed a park bench whose legs were submerged in the dark lake waters.’
    • ‘That afternoon, as we pedalled around the blue lake (so called for the clarity of its waters), Leonard voiced some concern about the wedding.’
    1. 1.1with object and adverbial of direction Move (a bicycle) by working its pedals.
      ‘she was pedalling a bicycle around town’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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’
      • ‘Crammed into sweltering buses and sleek subway cars, pedaling their rusty bikes, they swarm to work.’
      • ‘They allow those adults to pedal the trike around in the water.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It is very difficult to pedal a bicycle in long skirts and petticoats.’
      • ‘Anyway I was pedaling my bike down the street last weekend after softball practice, and a bug flew into my mouth.’
      • ‘One man stares at it dangerously while pedalling his bicycle along the road.’
      • ‘Earl stayed through college, pedaling his bike several miles to and from K-State and earning a degree in sociology and psychology.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There were also the lovely old bikes, penny farthings and boneshakers being pedalled around.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Begin moving your legs in a circular motion, as if pedaling a bicycle.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I would pedal my bike up back roads to visit them, and they would teach me radio.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘John, the guy from Brooklyn who pedals his bike over every weekend, would teach my gangly boy how to assert himself under the boards.’
    2. 1.2no 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.’
      • ‘He pedaled as hard as he could, and it wasn't enough, so he pedaled harder.’
      • ‘I was riding, and the harder I pedalled, the faster I went.’
      • ‘Then I had to pedal on a bike for 10 minutes while she gradually beefed up the resistance and monitored my heart rate.’
      • ‘As long as you keep pedalling, you won't fall over, and as long as you steer, you won't run into anything.’
      • ‘The anarchists sped down Clarendon, followed by 30 uniformed Boston policemen pedaling hard.’
      • ‘One way of detecting a bent crank or a bent pedal spindle is to pedal backwards.’
      • ‘It's very hard to keep pedalling, even in the lowest gear and I couldn't complete it without stopping several times.’
      • ‘The chain was rusty and it was hard to pedal, but it was all we could afford.’
      • ‘She pedals with full-out effort for just under a minute.’
      • ‘He glances at his left wrist, gauging how hard he should pedal and how long he can last.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The weather was getting progressively worse, making it harder to pedal, but those in the lead kept pushing all the way to the finish.’
      • ‘Make your climbs more difficult by pedaling harder each time you head back up.’
      • ‘When you stop pedaling, level the pedals so you can more easily shift your weight to steer, instead of moving the bar.’
      • ‘It shifts smoothly, almost regardless of how hard you're pedaling.’
      • ‘When not pedalling, always keep your pedals level.’
      • ‘She's not a competitive girl, but if anyone passes us she gets all antsy and starts pedaling real hard and says, ‘Dad!’’
      • ‘The rider then has a choice: to stop the bike or to pedal faster.’
      • ‘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.’
  • 2no object Use the pedals of a piano, organ, or other keyboard instrument, especially in a particular style.

    ‘the organist pedalled furiously, her feet travelling musical miles’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Given the ludicrously slow tempo and poor pedaling he imposes throughout, he is not even remotely up to the work's complex technical demands.’
    • ‘Skills such as shaping of line, pedaling, wrist rotation, voicing and chord playing can be easily incorporated into the piano lesson.’
    • ‘‘Scherzo’ requires lightness in fingerwork and pedaling.’
    • ‘Part One is titled ‘In the Practice Room’ and discusses sound, touch, technique, articulation, phrasing, timing, pedaling and practicing.’
    • ‘The student will enjoy exploring the many colors of piano dynamics, voicing and pedaling.’
    • ‘Here the rapid development of the piano was important, with its expanding range of pitch and dynamics and the effects made possible by 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But there are too many variables such as speed and pedaling that are not accurately duplicated.’
    • ‘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 composer provides clear indications for dynamics, pedaling and phrasing.’
    • ‘He made something veiled and mysterious of the central fugue, and his virtuoso pedalling in the work's later stages was impressive.’
    • ‘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.’

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 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

    • 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’
      • ‘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?’

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

Zoology Medicine
  • 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.’
    • ‘Near the pedal ganglia is a pair of statocysts, which are ovid or spherical.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The legendary Arkle was the King George VI champion in 1965 but during the following year's race he broke a pedal bone.’

Origin

Early 17th century: from Latin pedalis, from pes, ped- ‘foot’.

Pronunciation

pedal

/ˈpiːd(ə)l//ˈpɛd(ə)l/