Definition of treadmill in US English:



  • 1A device formerly used for driving machinery, consisting of a large wheel with steps fitted into its inner surface. It was turned by the weight of people or animals treading the steps.

    • ‘The original carousel opened in 1871 and was powered by a blind mule and a horse which walked a treadmill in an underground pit.’
    • ‘Where humans worked against gravity, as they did inside cage wheels and upon treadmills, we can calculate the power outputs.’
    • ‘The work required of workhouse inmates, especially the treadmill, was so hard that most apprentices were unable to work for several days upon their return to the plantation.’
    boring routine, humdrum existence, routine job, same old round, groove, grind, daily grind, dead end, assembly line
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    1. 1.1 An exercise machine, typically with a continuous belt, that allows one to walk or run in place.
      • ‘During my physio sessions, I also would walk on a treadmill, uphill, to try and strengthen and condition my lower body.’
      • ‘We drive to work, then go to the gym to walk on a treadmill.’
      • ‘Exercise therapy comprised an individualised aerobic exercise programme, mostly walking on treadmills and cycling on exercise bicycles.’
      • ‘Even while watching TV, people can use the treadmill, do knee exercises or do bicycling; every movement consumes calories so it pays to be active.’
      • ‘She started out walking on a treadmill at the Yates YMCA, then tried jogging 15 seconds, then 30 seconds, then a minute.’
      • ‘The exercise may be walking on a treadmill or riding a stationary bicycle.’
      • ‘In a study he helped conduct, published in the Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation, women who exercised in groups were more likely to continue working out than women who exercised alone on treadmills.’
      • ‘I also began to exercise, usually walking on the treadmill for two miles.’
      • ‘For exercise, each subject walked on a treadmill at a rate sufficient to achieve a minute ventilation that was approximately 3 times his or her resting rate.’
      • ‘Slimmers, abdomen reduction belts, treadmills and fitness equipment are up for sale at a few stalls.’
      • ‘Fitness levels were determined by how long participants could walk on a treadmill without becoming fatigued and short of breath.’
      • ‘The 32-year-old physics graduate got the idea about five years ago because he found cardiovascular training on bikes and treadmills boring.’
      • ‘She likes to read and then sit around and think (or walk on a treadmill and think), but hasn't yet figured out a way to make a lot of money doing that.’
      • ‘Specials also extend to exercise equipment, with exercise bikes and small treadmills available for under $35 and home gym sets from under $450.’
      • ‘I walked on the treadmill for an average of 33 minutes on seven of the eight days I was gone and also managed a few hikes in the heat, so that was a good thing.’
      • ‘Day 3 of the fitness program involved half an hour at the gym - 10 minutes each on the treadmill, exercise bike and cross-trainer.’
      • ‘I think this is a far better solution than rewarding those who (somewhat ironically) drive across town twice a week in January to walk on a treadmill for an hour.’
      • ‘It's a good thing I've been walking on the treadmill at the Y, because the hike from the house to the mailbox was about a mile and a half.’
      • ‘This test combines a standard ECG with moderate exercise such as walking on a treadmill.’
      • ‘The six male and six female participants completed four 90-minute walks on a treadmill in a refrigerated wind tunnel.’
    2. 1.2 A job or situation that is tiring, boring, or unpleasant and from which it is hard to escape.
      ‘the soulless treadmill of urban existence’
      • ‘New to Scotland, the classes are being booked up by people who have grown tired of the treadmill and are taking up tassels instead.’
      • ‘She's working hard on the promotional treadmill, and we're confident about her future.’
      • ‘In 1995, his second book, Ocean of Sound, provided a handy escape from the journalistic treadmill.’
      • ‘The festival was an outcry against everyday life and a short escape from the treadmill of the work-eat-sleep regime.’
      • ‘While debt relief has been extremely effective, it is not sufficient to allow poor countries escape the treadmill of borrowing to repay old loans.’