When you tread on the earth, you walk on it. The next time your pal thinks you have it too easy, you might ask him, “Why don’t you tread in my shoes for a day?”

Tread usually implies stepping with force, but it can also simply mean placing your feet, one after the other, on the ground. You might try to tread lightly on the moss in the backyard so you don't damage it. Tread is also a noun that means the mark that a tire leaves on the ground, or the actual grooves on the tire. You might be relieved that the tread marks at the crime scene didn't match your brother's truck after all.

Definitions of tread
  1. verb
    put down or press the foot; place the foot
    “For fools rush in where angels fear to tread
    synonyms: step
    see moresee less
    step on, tread on
    place or press the foot on
    type of:
    go, locomote, move, travel
    change location; move, travel, or proceed, also metaphorically
  2. verb
    tread or stomp heavily or roughly
    synonyms: trample
    see moresee less
    tread over
    type of:
    use one's feet to advance; advance by steps
  3. verb
    crush as if by treading on
    tread grapes to make wine”
    see moresee less
    type of:
    crush, mash, squash, squeeze, squelch
    compress with violence, out of natural shape or condition
  4. noun
    a step in walking or running
    synonyms: pace, stride
    see moresee less
    type of:
    the act of changing location by raising the foot and setting it down
  5. noun
    the part (as of a wheel or shoe) that makes contact with the ground
    see moresee less
    type of:
    contact, tangency
    (electronics) a junction where things (as two electrical conductors) touch or are in physical contact
  6. noun
    structural member consisting of the horizontal part of a stair or step
    see moresee less
    type of:
    structural member
    support that is a constituent part of any structure or building
  7. verb
    brace (an archer's bow) by pressing the foot against the center
    see moresee less
    type of:
    support by bracing
  8. noun
    the grooved surface of a pneumatic tire
    see moresee less
    type of:
    the outer boundary of an artifact or a material layer constituting or resembling such a boundary
  9. verb
    apply (the tread) to a tire
    see moresee less
    type of:
    apply, give
    give or convey physically
  10. verb
    mate with
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week