- a foot-operated keyboard, as on an organ or harpsichord.
- any of the keys of such a keyboard.
- pedal point.
verb (used without object), ped·aled, ped·al·ing or (especially British) ped·alled, ped·al·ling.
verb (used with object), ped·aled, ped·al·ing or (especially British) ped·alled, ped·al·ling.
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Words nearby pedal
What does pedal mean?
A pedal is a foot-operated lever that controls some kind of mechanism. The most common kinds of pedals are those on a bicycle, the brake pedal and gas pedal (accelerator) in a car, and the pedals used in musical instruments like pianos and organs.
Pedal can also be a verb meaning to operate a pedal, as in You’d better pedal faster! In American English, the past tense is spelled pedaled and the continuous tense is spelled pedaling. In British English, as with many other words, the l is doubled: pedalled and pedalling.
Example: When I was a kid, I liked to pedal my bike as fast as I could and then take my feet off the pedals and watch them keep spinning.
Where does pedal come from?
The first records of pedal come from the 1600s. It comes from the Latin pedālis, meaning “of the feet,” from pēs, meaning “foot.” The root pēs and its variants ped- and pedi- give us a lot of words related to feet, such as pedestrian (someone who travels by foot) and pedicure.
There are a lot of different kinds of pedals, but they all have at least one thing in common—they’re made to be operated with the foot.
Most pedals are one of two types. Some are levers that are used to turn a wheel. The pedals on a bicycle power the chain wheel, which then turns the wheels.
Other types of pedals are more like switches: when pressed with the foot, they control another mechanism. The gas pedal in a car is called the gas pedal because it controls the amount of fuel that goes to the engine—the more fuel, the faster the car will go. In a piano, the pedals are used to sustain a tone or create a muted effect. In organs, they’re used to control deep bass tones. Foot-operated pedals can be hooked up to electric guitars to allow the player to change the quality of the sound. Sewing machines use a pedal to control how rapidly the needle moves up and down.
Pedal should not be confused with the verb peddle (meaning “to go from place to place to sell goods”), which is pronounced exactly the same, or the noun petal (as in a flower petal), which has almost the same pronunciation.
Did you know ... ?
What are some other forms related to pedal?
- pedaled (past tense verb, American English spelling)
- pedalled (past tense verb, British English spelling)
- pedaling (continuous tense verb, American English spelling)
- pedalling (continuous tense verb, British English spelling)
What are some words that share a root or word element with pedal?
What are some words that often get used in discussing pedal?
What are some words pedal may be commonly confused with?
How is pedal used in real life?
Pedal is a common word and a common thing—there are all kinds of pedals that we use to operate things with our feet.
— Aaron Ott (@steinway88) January 20, 2020
jack white just sent me some guitar pedals and a selection of vinyls from @thirdmanrecords .
his note encouraged me to stay inspired.
one of the cooler things to happen to me through music.
— tyler jøseph (@tylerrjoseph) January 22, 2020
Gotta fly! If I don't find my car keys, I may have to get out Abigail's pink bike and pedal to my appointments! Or, Matt's longboard. 😉
— Marie Osmond (@marieosmond) April 30, 2010
Try using pedal!
Is pedal used correctly in the following sentence?
When you’re coasting downhill, you should keep your foot on the brake pedal.
Example sentences from the Web for pedal
I strain and push and pedal and wonder, “When will this end?”
I push down on the pedal with my right leg and instead of propelling myself forward, I topple over sideways.
He'd pedal a few yards, then the handle bars would get away from him.
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|Jimmy So|December 2, 2013|DAILY BEAST
She got thousands of hits and inspired dozens of other women to put the pedal to the metal.
The Solo organ and one-third of the Pedal organ are under the first arch on the north side of the chancel.The Recent Revolution in Organ Building|George Laing Miller
The pedal will probably come off once at least on my way in.The Simpkins Plot|George A. Birmingham
In the "pedal organ" are 12 stops, viz.: Open diapason 16ft.Showell's Dictionary of Birmingham|Thomas T. Harman and Walter Showell
The pedal ganglion is made of right and left parts quite completely fused except at the margins.Journal of Entomology and Zoology|Horace Gunthorp
It must be borne in mind that the pedal organ, with its keys for the feet, was a much later invention.The Influence of the Organ in History|Dudley Buck
British Dictionary definitions for pedal (1 of 2)
- 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
verb -als, -alling or -alled or US -als, -aling or -aled
Word Origin for pedal
British Dictionary definitions for pedal (2 of 2)
Word Origin for pedal
Medical definitions for pedal
Idioms and Phrases with pedal
see soft pedal.