- a foot-operated lever used to control certain mechanisms, as automobiles, or to play or modify the sounds of certain musical instruments, as pianos, organs, or harps.
- a leverlike part worked by the foot to supply power in various mechanisms, as the bicycle.
- a foot-operated keyboard, as on an organ or harpsichord.
- any of the keys of such a keyboard.
- pedal point.
- to work or use the pedals, as in playing an organ or propelling a bicycle.
- to work the pedals of (an organ, bicycle, etc.).
- of or relating to a foot or the feet.
- of or relating to a pedal or pedals.
- using pedals: a pedal mechanism.
Origin of pedal
Examples from the Web for pedal
I strain and push and pedal and wonder, “When will this end?”Biking With the Bard
December 28, 2014
I push down on the pedal with my right leg and instead of propelling myself forward, I topple over sideways.You’re Never ‘Cured’ of an Eating Disorder
December 20, 2014
He'd pedal a few yards, then the handle bars would get away from him.The Stacks: A Dog Dies, a Boy Grows Up
June 21, 2014
When Paul Walker steps on the pedal in ‘The Fast and Furious,’ his boyish glee takes over.Best Paul Walker Performances: Ranking the ‘Fast and Furious’ Franchise
December 2, 2013
She got thousands of hits and inspired dozens of other women to put the pedal to the metal.Ovaries on Overdrive in the Saudi Kingdom
October 9, 2013
Pedal line: in caterpillars: extends along the base of the feet.Explanation of Terms Used in Entomology
John. B. Smith
All I had to do to work miracles was press ever so lightly a pedal.Working With the Working Woman
Cornelia Stratton Parker
"There," he said at last, getting up and barking his shin against the pedal.Once a Week
Alan Alexander Milne
This pedal sustains but does not increase the power of the sound that is produced.The Pianolist
Elizabeth saw it at a point when she could not control the pedal with her foot.The Wind Before the Dawn
Dell H. Munger
- any foot-operated lever or other device, esp one of the two levers that drive the chain wheel of a bicycle, the foot brake, clutch control, or accelerator of a car, one of the levers on an organ controlling deep bass notes, or one of the levers on a piano used to create a muted effect or sustain tone
- (as modifier)a pedal cycle; a pianist's pedal technique
- to propel (a bicycle, boat, etc) by operating the pedals
- (intr) to operate the pedals of an organ, piano, etc, esp in a certain way
- to work (pedals of any kind)
- of or relating to the foot or feet
Word Origin and History for pedal
1610s, "lever (on an organ) worked by foot," from French pédale "feet, trick with the feet," from Italian pedale "treadle, pedal," from Late Latin pedale "(thing) of the foot," neuter of Latin pedalis "of the foot," from pes (genitive pedis) "foot" (see foot (n.)).
Extended to various mechanical contrivances by 1789. Pedal steel guitar is from 1969. Pedal-pushers "type of women's trousers suitable for bicycling" is from 1944.
When college girls took to riding bicycles in slacks, they first rolled up one trouser leg, then rolled up both. This whimsy has now produced a trim variety of long shorts, called "pedal pushers." ["Life," Aug. 28, 1944]
1866 of musical organs, 1888 of bicycles, from pedal (n.). Related: Pedaled; pedaling.
- Of or relating to a foot or footlike part.
Idioms and Phrases with pedal
see soft pedal.