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.

    • ‘If the water is real deep, try ratcheting your pedals by doing quarter pedal strokes.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 pedals and gear lever are ideally placed, adding to the agreeable feeling of a design thoroughly researched and carefully implemented.’
    • ‘This triangle represents the three spots of contact we have with our bicycles; the handlebars, the seat, and the pedals.’
    • ‘He paused to adjust his gear lever and glance down at his pedals.’
    • ‘Another moviegoer left his shoes, and a third his bike pedal.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I put more power to the pedals, but my legs felt heavy and Annie climbed away, now 20 yards ahead.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘When he stands on the pedals of a trainer-mounted bicycle, he has a healthy saturation level.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She grabbed the small bike from its resting place against the chimney and with one foot on the pedal propelled it to the gate.’
    • ‘Pedaling was accomplished by levers or off-set pedals, and gearing was added, thus compensating for speed loss.’
    • ‘However, every pair of pedals except his bent ones felt weird to him!’
    • ‘The rider sits on a saddle, propels the vehicle by means of pedals, and steers with handlebars on the front wheel.’
    • ‘I was wobbly and unsure of myself as I pushed down on the pedal, propelling the bike slowly forward.’
    • ‘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 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.’
  • 2A foot-operated throttle, brake, or clutch control in a motor vehicle:

    [as modifier] ‘a brake pedal’
    • ‘He thrusts the gas pedal to the floor and it burns rubber and takes off.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 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.’
    • ‘This has resulted in the car getting a whole new steering system and a slightly revised brake pedal with shorter travel.’
    • ‘There is lots of power but I found the accelerator and brake pedals were too close together.’
    • ‘I shall not be able to manage a clutch pedal and stick shift for ever, and I know it.’
    • ‘Initially I had trouble with the accelerator and brake pedals.’
    • ‘The gear lever was at his right hand, the brake in the throttle pedal's usual place.’
    • ‘Ford also has stressed new adjustable pedals for making the vehicles more comfortable for women drivers.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘His feet buried the clutch and brake pedal into the floorboard.’
    • ‘Further tests are planned on gas, brake and clutch pedals.’
    • ‘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 throttle pedal is smooth and not at all jerky.’
    • ‘‘A lot of people use the clutch and the brake pedal in the wrong order,’ said Smyth.’
    • ‘Skelton said investigators determined that a large rock was put on the gas pedal, the vehicle slipped into gear and sent over a cliff.’
    • ‘Things I really liked about the interior include the power adjustable pedals, easy fold rear seats, and a truly fab navigation system.’
  • 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.

    • ‘Frequently the pedal of the piano is held down for many minutes.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She also is unafraid to be generous with the pedal, yet clarity isn't sacrificed.’
    • ‘The pedal plays a large role in creating a musical perception of legato, and for small-handed pianists, it is indispensable.’
    • ‘He could sustain long, singing legato lines without becoming dependent on the pedal.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Part of Gould's achievement is that his refusal to use the sustaining pedal puts the guts back into Bach.’
    • ‘During performance, most students will need to stand while depressing the damper pedal to access the interior of the piano.’
    • ‘I took the speaker and sat it on the sustain pedal of a grand piano so the strings were all open.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The big sounds of Brahms go out in smudges, the pedals drowning them in an effort to be loud and large.’
    • ‘Arrange your feet on the soft and sustaining pedals in readiness to carry out instructions - always clearly marked in the score.’
    • ‘Bobby battled through a concert even though gout prevented him from working the piano's pedals.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Technically, Miss Stein's economy of commas may be compared with a complete renunciation of the pedal in playing the piano.’
    • ‘When she played Satie on her own, I noticed she used the sustaining pedal sparingly.’
    • ‘Some of the tonal increases, however require better use of the sustaining pedal.’
    1. 3.1 A foot-operated lever on other musical instruments, such as an organ.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He was replaced by guitarist Paul Ducann, whilst Crane took up bass duties using the bass pedals of his trusty Hammond 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
    2. 3.2 A foot-operated device for producing a sound effect on an electric guitar.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He plugged it into his amp and tried a few different effects from his pedal - the guitar sounded like a dream.’
      • ‘The band looks confused, their pedals keep making funny noises, their vocals come and go.’
      • ‘The guitarist fiddled with various electronic devices and guitar pedals throughout the show, showing great musical versatility.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They are a country outfit with a lead foot on the distortion pedal.’
      • ‘If I recorded a song using a guitar pedal that sounded really dodgy, would you accept my excuse that ‘it can't be perfect’?’
      • ‘Solid-body guitars were combined with new sonic modification devices such as distortion boxes and wah-wah pedals.’
      • ‘‘We do use effect pedals like anybody else would,’ Sasso says.’
      • ‘How often do you see an acoustic guitar grumped up through a distortion pedal?’
    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’
    • ‘She was back on her bicycle pedaling all around town.’
    • ‘I straddled my bicycle and pedaled off to Emily's farm.’
    • ‘In the last few weeks, two groups of long-distance bicycle trekkers have pedaled through town, and another is making plans to depart soon.’
    • ‘Two girls on bikes with baskets pedalled along the towpath.’
    • ‘The girl told the inquest: ‘Sam turned his bike round and started pedalling off.’’
    • ‘When the girls came pedalling along in the Bordeaux race - all legs and flowing hair - they were a sensation.’
    • ‘The six-day bike trip saw Chris pedalling 120 miles-per-day.’
    • ‘He pedals to the barbershop, to his doctor appointments, to visit his friends and go out to lunch.’
    • ‘As I pedaled along, slowly to enjoy the morning, I noticed a park bench whose legs were submerged in the dark lake waters.’
    • ‘She was pedalling straight into a heavy wind, and it was tough going.’
    • ‘On a borrowed a bicycle, he pedals over hills and along dirt roads, encountering impenetrable characters and glimpses of his own nature.’
    • ‘That afternoon, as we pedalled around the blue lake (so called for the clarity of its waters), Leonard voiced some concern about the wedding.’
    • ‘On what was the hottest day of our trip we pedalled along quite happily.’
    • ‘As we pedalled along we talked about anything and everything.’
    • ‘The man just nodded, climbed on his bicycle and pedaled away.’
    • ‘Not really accustomed to winter biking, I gingerly pedalled down an alley on the packed snow, and unexpectedly gathered speed.’
    • ‘You can see cyclists pedalling along, chatting away happily.’
    • ‘I doggedly pedaled along but I was so not enjoying this little excursion.’
    • ‘I took a last slug of the water in my bottle, hopped back on the bike, and pedalled merrily home.’
    • ‘One of the reasons I like cycling is that you can get into long reveries while pedalling along.’
    1. 1.1[with object and adverbial of direction] Move (a bicycle) by working its pedals:
      ‘she was pedalling a bicycle around town’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘John, the guy from Brooklyn who pedals his bike over every weekend, would teach my gangly boy how to assert himself under the boards.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There were also the lovely old bikes, penny farthings and boneshakers being pedalled around.’
      • ‘Anyway I was pedaling my bike down the street last weekend after softball practice, and a bug flew into my mouth.’
      • ‘Begin moving your legs in a circular motion, as if pedaling a bicycle.’
      • ‘I would pedal my bike up back roads to visit them, and they would teach me radio.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘One man stares at it dangerously while pedalling his bicycle along the road.’
      • ‘They allow those adults to pedal the trike around in the water.’
      • ‘Earl stayed through college, pedaling his bike several miles to and from K-State and earning a degree in sociology and psychology.’
    2. 1.2[no object] Work the pedals of a bicycle:
      ‘he was coming down the path on his bike, pedalling hard’
      • ‘When you stop pedaling, level the pedals so you can more easily shift your weight to steer, instead of moving the bar.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He glances at his left wrist, gauging how hard he should pedal and how long he can last.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Make your climbs more difficult by pedaling harder each time you head back up.’
      • ‘She pedals with full-out effort for just under a minute.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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!’’
      • ‘Then I had to pedal on a bike for 10 minutes while she gradually beefed up the resistance and monitored my heart rate.’
      • ‘One way of detecting a bent crank or a bent pedal spindle is to pedal backwards.’
      • ‘I was riding, and the harder I pedalled, the faster I went.’
      • ‘It's very hard to keep pedalling, even in the lowest gear and I couldn't complete it without stopping several times.’
      • ‘He pedaled as hard as he could, and it wasn't enough, so he pedaled harder.’
      • ‘As long as you keep pedalling, you won't fall over, and as long as you steer, you won't run into anything.’
      • ‘The chain was rusty and it was hard to pedal, but it was all we could afford.’
      • ‘It shifts smoothly, almost regardless of how hard you're pedaling.’
  • 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’
    • ‘‘Scherzo’ requires lightness in fingerwork and pedaling.’
    • ‘The student will enjoy exploring the many colors of piano dynamics, voicing and pedaling.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Here the rapid development of the piano was important, with its expanding range of pitch and dynamics and the effects made possible by pedalling.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Part One is titled ‘In the Practice Room’ and discusses sound, touch, technique, articulation, phrasing, timing, pedaling and practicing.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Skills such as shaping of line, pedaling, wrist rotation, voicing and chord playing can be easily incorporated into the piano lesson.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But there are too many variables such as speed and pedaling that are not accurately duplicated.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He made something veiled and mysterious of the central fugue, and his virtuoso pedalling in the work's later stages was impressive.’
    • ‘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.’

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.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There was some pedal oedema with good pedal pulses.’
    • ‘Near the pedal ganglia is a pair of statocysts, which are ovid or spherical.’
    • ‘Scaphopods burrow by projecting their foot into the substrate and contracting pedal retractor muscles to pull the animal downward.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation:

pedal

/ˈpɛd(ə)l/