pad·​dle | \ ˈpa-dᵊl How to pronounce paddle (audio) \

Definition of paddle

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : a usually wooden implement that has a long handle and a broad flattened blade and that is used to propel and steer a small craft (such as a canoe)
b : an implement often with a short handle and a broad flat blade that is used for stirring, mixing, or hitting especially : one used to hit a ball in any of various games (such as table tennis)
c : a small usually numbered sign that is raised by a bidder at an auction to signal a bid
d : a flat electrode that is the part of a defibrillator placed on the chest of a patient and through which a shock of electricity is discharged
2a : any of the broad boards at the circumference of a paddle wheel or waterwheel
b : any of the broad blades attached to a shaft (as in an ice cream machine) and used for stirring
3 : a computer input device with a dial used to control linear movement of a cursor on a computer display


verb (1)
paddled; paddling\ ˈpad-​liŋ How to pronounce paddling (audio) , ˈpa-​dᵊl-​iŋ \

Definition of paddle (Entry 2 of 3)

intransitive verb

: to go on or through water by or as if by means of a paddle or paddle wheel

transitive verb

1a : to propel by a paddle
b : to transport in a paddled craft paddled us to shore in his canoe
2a : to beat or stir with or as if with a paddle (as in washing or dyeing)
b : to punish by or as if by beating with a paddle


verb (2)
paddled; paddling

Definition of paddle (Entry 3 of 3)

intransitive verb

1 : to move the hands or feet about in shallow water
2 : toddle
3 archaic : to use the hands or fingers in toying or caressing

Examples of paddle in a Sentence

Noun Use the mixer's paddle attachment to mix the dough. The potter used a paddle to shape the clay.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Hakone’s power source Power is delivered to the rear wheels through either a six-speed manual gearbox or a six-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission with Sport mode, paddle shifters, and Dynamic Rev Management. Arv Voss, Houston Chronicle, "2020 Toyota 86 Hakone: New sport coupe emerges," 31 Jan. 2020 The driver feels directly connected to the powertrain via the gas pedal and paddle shifters. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, "Here are the 10 best power plants for cars and why we didn't call them engines," 18 Jan. 2020 In a room of machines, Mr. Picciuolo turned a long wooden paddle in a vat of molten curds, stirring the steaming mix into a thick, elastic white paste. Seth Sherwood, New York Times, "Paris Might Be the Best City for Italian Food (Outside Italy)," 4 Dec. 2019 Remove the whisk attachment and add the fruit and nuts to the nougat, folding with a stiff wooden paddle or a silicone spatula sprayed with nonstick spray. Washington Post, "The perfect holiday gift: delicious, pantry-friendly nougat," 3 Dec. 2019 Fires would have to be tended and large vats were stirred with long wooden paddles for eight hours or more. oregonlive, "Velvety, rich apple butter comes together easily in a slow cooker," 24 Oct. 2019 In Strada, Sport or Corsa driving modes, this little drop-top is a mover, snappy off the line and roaring through the gears, via paddle shifters or relying solely on the dual-clutch automatic transmission with immense speed and sure-footedness. Los Angeles Times, "Lamborghini’s 2020 Huracan EVO is a hell of a ride, but maybe not a daily driver," 11 Oct. 2019 The Stingray will have an 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, the active transmission of choice among high-end European sports cars. Staff And News Service Reports, The Mercury News, "Photos: General Motors unveils its new Corvette Stingray in Tustin," 20 July 2019 Brew City Kayak offers a full moon paddle with headlamps and glow sticks provided. Travel Wisconsin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Visit Milwaukee and Wisconsin this summer, before the world does in 2020," 14 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Gear changes are clean, and its response to paddle-shifter play is satisfactory. Scott Oldham, Car and Driver, "Genesis GV80 Is Late to the Party But Is Dressed to Impress," 16 Jan. 2020 The Cuyahoga River in 2019 celebrated its transformation from open sewer to paddling paradise. Laura Johnston, cleveland, "High water, Tall Ships and a game-changing idea: Lake Erie’s big year in 2019," 27 Dec. 2019 Yet Alabama continues to paddle more kids than the majority of states that allow it. al, "Neighbor states stop paddling disabled students, Alabama schools still swinging away," 17 Dec. 2019 Last week, Bill Marlow and his wife, Debbie, decided to paddle board across a canal to Jim and Marilyn Anderson’s house for drinks — these are the Keys, after all — rather than expose their car to the elements. Patricia Mazzei, New York Times, "82 Days Underwater: The Tide Is High, but They’re Holding On," 24 Nov. 2019 Last month, pumpkin boat races were held in Morton, Illinois, where participants had to paddle their way across a lake while sitting in 500-pound pumpkins. Amanda Jackson, CNN, "He grew a 910-pound pumpkin and then used it as a boat," 22 Oct. 2019 This led to pranks — another Red Arrow staple — including counselors dressing as women and paddling in a canoe toward the camp pier while all the boys were swimming. Chelsey Lewis, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "7 weeks of summer camp is rare in Wisconsin, but Red Arrow has continued the tradition for 100 years," 30 Jan. 2020 In the video, which was posted last summer, Abram paddles around in a kayak and looks for interesting rock specimens. Frank Witsil, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan teacher sets record straight on big puddingstone he found in Lake Huron," 24 Jan. 2020 Horne was paddling in the surf near Sudie Payne Road in Rodanthe when he was bitten on the foot, Vandzura said. Washington Post, "Beach ranger: North Carolina surfer suffers shark bite," 14 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'paddle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of paddle


1624, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb (1)

1637, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Verb (2)

1530, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for paddle


Middle English padell spade-shaped tool for cleaning a plow

Verb (2)

origin unknown

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Time Traveler for paddle

Time Traveler

The first known use of paddle was in 1530

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Statistics for paddle

Last Updated

4 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Paddle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for paddle


How to pronounce paddle (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of paddle

: a long, usually wooden pole that has a wide, flat part at the end and is used to move and steer a small boat (such as a canoe)
US : an object with a short handle and a wide, flat part that is used to hit the ball in various games (such as table tennis)
: any one of various tools or devices that are wide, flat, and thin


pad·​dle | \ ˈpa-dᵊl How to pronounce paddle (audio) \
paddled; paddling

Kids Definition of paddle

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : to move or drive forward with an instrument like an oar or with short quick movements of hands and feet
2 : to stir, mix, or beat with a paddle



Kids Definition of paddle (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : an instrument like an oar used in moving and steering a small boat (as a canoe)
2 : an implement having a broad flat end and used for beating, mixing, or hitting
3 : one of the broad boards at the outer edge of a waterwheel or a paddle wheel


paddled; paddling

Kids Definition of paddle (Entry 3 of 3)

: to move or splash about in the water


pad·​dle | \ ˈpad-ᵊl How to pronounce paddle (audio) \

Medical Definition of paddle

: a flat electrode that is the part of a defibrillator placed on the chest of a patient and through which a shock of electricity is discharged

called also paddle electrode

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