Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

tread

[tred]
See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
verb (used without object), trod, trod·den or trod, tread·ing.
  1. to set down the foot or feet in walking; step; walk.
  2. to step, walk, or trample so as to press, crush, or injure something (usually followed by on or upon): to tread on a person's foot.
  3. (of a male bird) to copulate.
verb (used with object), trod, trod·den or trod, tread·ing.
  1. to step or walk on, about, in, or along.
  2. to trample or crush underfoot.
  3. to form by the action of walking or trampling: to tread a path.
  4. to treat with disdainful harshness or cruelty; crush; oppress.
  5. to perform by walking or dancing: to tread a measure.
  6. (of a male bird) to copulate with (a female bird).
noun
  1. the action of treading, stepping, or walking.
  2. the sound of footsteps.
  3. manner of treading or walking.
  4. a single step as in walking.
  5. any of various things or parts on which a person or thing treads, stands, or moves.
  6. the part of the under surface of the foot or of a shoe that touches the ground.
  7. the horizontal upper surface of a step in a stair, on which the foot is placed.
  8. the part of a wheel, tire, or runner that bears on the road, rail, etc.
  9. the pattern raised on or cut into the face of a rubber tire.
  10. Also caterpillar tread. a metal tread on which a Caterpillar-style vehicle moves.
  11. Railroads. that part of a rail in contact with the treads of wheels.
Idioms
  1. tread on someone's toes/corns, to offend or irritate someone.
  2. tread the boards, to act on the stage, especially professionally: He recalled the days when he had trod the boards.
  3. tread water,
    1. Swimming.to maintain the body erect in the water with the head above the surface usually by a pumping up-and-down movement of the legs and sometimes the arms.
    2. Slang.to make efforts that maintain but do not further one's status, progress, or performance: He's just treading water here until he can find another job.

Origin of tread

before 900; (v.) Middle English treden, Old English tredan; cognate with Old Frisian treda, Old Saxon tredan, Dutch treden, German treten; akin to Old Norse trotha, Gothic trudan; (noun) Middle English tred footprint, derivative of the v.
Related formstread·er, nouno·ver·tread, nounsub·tread, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for tread

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • No, I will tear his image from my bosom, tread on him, spurn him.

  • She could hear his tread marching into her life, and could see his face.

    Tiverton Tales

    Alice Brown

  • It was fair, and so long that when standing up she could tread on it and bend her head forward.

    My Double Life

    Sarah Bernhardt

  • After carrying a heavy pack so long, I seemed to tread on air.

    The Forest

    Stewart Edward White

  • He took her soft hand, ere her mother could bar,— "Now tread we a measure!"


British Dictionary definitions for tread

tread

verb treads, treading, trod, trodden or trod
  1. to walk or trample in, on, over, or across (something)
  2. (when intr, foll by on) to crush or squash by or as if by treadingto tread grapes; to tread on a spider
  3. (intr sometimes foll by on) to subdue or repress, as by doing injury (to)to tread on one's inferiors
  4. (tr) to do by walking or dancingto tread a measure
  5. (tr) (of a male bird) to copulate with (a female bird)
  6. tread lightly to proceed with delicacy or tact
  7. tread on someone's toes to offend or insult someone, esp by infringing on his sphere of action, etc
  8. tread water to stay afloat in an upright position by moving the legs in a walking motion
noun
  1. a manner or style of walking, dancing, etca light tread
  2. the act of treading
  3. the top surface of a step in a staircase
  4. the outer part of a tyre or wheel that makes contact with the road, esp the grooved surface of a pneumatic tyre
  5. the part of a rail that wheels touch
  6. the part of a shoe that is generally in contact with the ground
  7. vet science an injury to a horse's foot caused by the opposite foot, or the foot of another horse
  8. a rare word for footprint
Derived Formstreader, noun

Word Origin

Old English tredan; related to Old Norse trotha , Old High German tretan, Swedish träda
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for tread

v.

Old English tredan (class V strong verb; past tense træd, past participle treden), from Proto-Germanic *tredanan (cf. Old Frisian treda, Middle Dutch treden, Old High German tretan, German treten, Gothic trudan, Old Norse troða).

n.

early 13c., from tread (v.); in reference to automobile tires, it is recorded from 1906.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with tread

tread

In addition to the idioms beginning with tread

also see:

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.