- one of the terminal digits of the human foot.
- an analogous part in certain animals.
- the forepart of the foot or hoof of a horse or the like.
- the forepart of anything worn on the foot, as of a shoe or stocking.
- a part resembling a toe in shape or position.
- Railroads. the end of a frog in front of the point and in the direction of the switch.
- a journal or part placed vertically in a bearing, as the lower end of a vertical shaft.
- a curved partial cam lifting the flat surface of a follower and letting it drop; wiper.
- Golf. the outer end of the head of a club.
- to furnish with a toe or toes.
- to touch or reach with the toes: The pitcher toed the mound, wound up, and threw a fastball.
- to kick with the toe.
- Golf. to strike (the ball) with the toe of the club.
- to drive (a nail) obliquely.
- to toenail.
- to stand, walk, etc., with the toes in a specified position: to toe in.
- to tap with the toe, as in dancing.
- on one's toes, energetic; alert; ready: The spirited competition kept them on their toes.
- step/tread on (someone's) toes, to offend (a person); encroach on the territory or sphere of responsibility of (another): The new employee stepped on a lot of toes when he suggested reorganizing the office.
- toe the line. line1(def 83).
Origin of toe
- 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
- any one of the digits of the foot
- the corresponding part in other vertebrates
- the part of a shoe, sock, etc, covering the toes
- anything resembling a toe in shape or position
- the front part of the head of a golf club, hockey stick, etc
- the lower bearing of a vertical shaft assembly
- the tip of a cam follower that engages the cam profile
- dip one's toe in or dip one's toes in informal to begin doing or try something new or unfamiliar
- on one's toes alert
- tread on someone's toes to offend or insult a person, esp by trespassing on his or her field of responsibility
- turn up one's toes informal to die
- Australian slang speeda player with plenty of toe
- (tr) to touch, kick, or mark with the toe
- (tr) golf to strike (the ball) with the toe of the club
- (tr) to drive (a nail, spike, etc) obliquely
- (intr) to walk with the toes pointing in a specified directionto toe inwards
- toe the line to conform to expected standards, attitudes, etc
Word Origin for toe
- 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 ta (plural tan), contraction of *tahe (Mercian tahæ), from Proto-Germanic *taikhwo (cf. Old Norse ta, Old Frisian tane, Middle Dutch te, Dutch teen, Old High German zecha, German Zehe "toe"), probably originally meaning "fingers" as well (many PIE languages still use one word to mean both fingers and toes). The Old English plural tan survived in southwestern England to 14c. To be on (one's) toes "alert, eager" is recorded from 1921.
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.
"touch or reach with the toes," 1813, from toe (n.). First recorded in expression toe the mark, which seems to be nautical in origin.
The chief mate ... marked a line on the deck, brought the two boys up to it, making them 'toe the mark.' [R.H. Dana, "Two Years Before the Mast," 1840]
Related: Toed; toeing.
- Any of the digits of a foot.
In addition to the idiom beginning with toe
- toe the line
- dip one's toes into
- from head to toe
- on one's toes
- step on someone's toes
- turn up one's toes
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