Anything you push with your feet to control a machine, vehicle, or instrument is a pedal. When you use a sewing machine, you push the pedal with your foot to make the needle move up and down.

When you see the letters ped, something related to the foot might just be afoot. Pedestrians walk around by foot, and a pedicure is when your tootsies get the spa treatment. Those letters don’t always relate to feet, but it does with pedal, the noun or verb. The controls on the floor of your car are pedals, and if you put the pedal to the metal, it means you press as hard as you can on the gas pedal. Woohoo!

Primary Meanings of pedal

a lever that is operated with the foot
ride a bicycle
of or relating to the feet
a sustained bass note
Full Definitions of pedal

n a lever that is operated with the foot

foot lever, foot pedal, treadle
show 5 types...
hide 5 types...
accelerator, accelerator pedal, gas, gas pedal, gun, throttle
a pedal that controls the throttle valve
brake pedal
foot pedal that moves a piston in the master brake cylinder
clutch, clutch pedal
a pedal or lever that engages or disengages a rotating shaft and a driving mechanism
soft pedal
a pedal on a piano that moves the action closer to the strings and so soften the sound
loud pedal, sustaining pedal
a pedal on a piano that lifts the dampers from the strings and so allows them to continue vibrating
Type of:
a rigid bar pivoted about a fulcrum

v ride a bicycle

bicycle, bike, cycle, wheel
ride a unicycle
pedal backwards on a bicycle
Type of:
be carried or travel on or in a vehicle

v operate the pedals on a keyboard instrument

Type of:
control, operate
handle and cause to function

adj of or relating to the feet

“the word for a pedal extremity is `foot'”

n a sustained bass note

pedal point
Type of:
musical note, note, tone
a notation representing the pitch and duration of a musical sound

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.