Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

tread water

Definition of tread water

  1. 1 :  to float upright in deep water by moving one's legs and usually one's arms forward and backward through the water

  2. 2 :  to stay in a situation without making any progress <I'm just treading water financially right now.>



Word by Word Definitions

treadplay
  1. :  to step or walk on or over

    :  to walk or proceed along :  follow

    :  to beat or press with the feet :  trample

  1. :  a mark (as a footprint or the imprint of a tire) made by or as if by treading

    :  the action of treading

    :  an act or instance of treading :  step

waterplay
  1. :  the liquid that descends from the clouds as rain, forms streams, lakes, and seas, and is a major constituent of all living matter and that when pure is an odorless, tasteless, very slightly compressible liquid oxide of hydrogen H2O which appears bluish in thick layers, freezes at 0° C and boils at 100° C, has a maximum density at 4° C and a high specific heat, is feebly ionized to hydrogen and hydroxyl ions, and is a poor conductor of electricity and a good solvent

    :  a particular quantity or body of water: as

    :  the water occupying or flowing in a particular bed

  1. :  to moisten, sprinkle, or soak with water

    :  to supply with water for drink

    :  to supply water to


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up tread water? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).