- to set down the foot or feet in walking; step; walk.
- 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.
- (of a male bird) to copulate.
- to step or walk on, about, in, or along.
- to trample or crush underfoot.
- to form by the action of walking or trampling: to tread a path.
- to treat with disdainful harshness or cruelty; crush; oppress.
- to perform by walking or dancing: to tread a measure.
- (of a male bird) to copulate with (a female bird).
- the action of treading, stepping, or walking.
- the sound of footsteps.
- manner of treading or walking.
- a single step as in walking.
- any of various things or parts on which a person or thing treads, stands, or moves.
- the part of the under surface of the foot or of a shoe that touches the ground.
- the horizontal upper surface of a step in a stair, on which the foot is placed.
- the part of a wheel, tire, or runner that bears on the road, rail, etc.
- the pattern raised on or cut into the face of a rubber tire.
- Also caterpillar tread. a metal tread on which a Caterpillar-style vehicle moves.
- Railroads. that part of a rail in contact with the treads of wheels.
- tread on someone's toes/corns, to offend or irritate someone.
- tread the boards, to act on the stage, especially professionally: He recalled the days when he had trod the boards.
- tread water,
- 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.
- 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
- to walk or trample in, on, over, or across (something)
- (when intr, foll by on) to crush or squash by or as if by treadingto tread grapes; to tread on a spider
- (intr sometimes foll by on) to subdue or repress, as by doing injury (to)to tread on one's inferiors
- (tr) to do by walking or dancingto tread a measure
- (tr) (of a male bird) to copulate with (a female bird)
- tread lightly to proceed with delicacy or tact
- tread on someone's toes to offend or insult someone, esp by infringing on his sphere of action, etc
- tread water to stay afloat in an upright position by moving the legs in a walking motion
- a manner or style of walking, dancing, etca light tread
- the act of treading
- the top surface of a step in a staircase
- the outer part of a tyre or wheel that makes contact with the road, esp the grooved surface of a pneumatic tyre
- the part of a rail that wheels touch
- the part of a shoe that is generally in contact with the ground
- vet science an injury to a horse's foot caused by the opposite foot, or the foot of another horse
- a rare word for footprint
Word Origin for tread
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).
early 13c., from tread (v.); in reference to automobile tires, it is recorded from 1906.
tread the boards
Act on the stage, as in Her main ambition was to tread the boards in a big city. This idiom uses boards in the sense of “a theatrical stage,” a usage dating from the mid-1700s. It dates from the mid-1800s but was preceded by the idiom tread the stage, first recorded in 1691.
In addition to the idioms beginning with tread
- tread the boards
- tread water
- fools rush in where angels fear to tread
- step (tread) on one's toes