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 paddle (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

Other Words from paddle


paddle-like \ ˈpa-​dᵊl-​ˌlīk How to pronounce paddle (audio) \ or paddlelike adjective
a paddle-like tail paddlelike forelimbs

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 Water sports are a breeze as the island is located close to rental shops for surfboards, stand-up paddle boards, kayaks, parasailing and jet skis. Gabi De La Rosa, Chron, 6 May 2022 The car comes with an 8-speed automatic transmission the deliver smooth shifts overall, and the paddle shifters were pretty responsive too. Maren Estrada, BGR, 30 Apr. 2022 Fit with a quick-shifting eight-speed automatic and elephant-ear-sized metal paddle shifters for manual control, the Grecale Trofeo always feels eager and responsive, especially in Sport or Corsa modes. Howard Walker, Robb Report, 19 Apr. 2022 Gold trim is littered throughout the interior while the paddle shifters match the red color of the exterior. Caleb Miller, Car and Driver, 9 Feb. 2022 Aluminum paddle shifters and normal and dynamic driving modes are standard. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, 9 Feb. 2022 That powertrain would be married to a CVT with paddle-shifters and sitting on the Alpine’s chassis, the car should deliver top class handling. Peter Lyon, Forbes, 25 Oct. 2021 Our Limited trim tester was equipped with the latter, and manual-mode paddle shifters. Dan Neil, WSJ, 21 Oct. 2021 Santa Cruzes with the optional eight-speed dual-clutch transmission will have steering wheel paddle shifters. Tribune News Service, cleveland, 24 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Even on group tours, Cabo Adventures will supply snorkels, paddle boards, snacks, and drinks and take you to El Arco and beautiful Lover's Beach, but for a truly unforgettable day, book a private sailing experience. Nina Ruggiero, Travel + Leisure, 9 Nov. 2021 The amenities are endless—hiking and biking trails, paddle craft and bike rentals, two visitors centers, a dog park and a 30,000 square-foot, in-ground skatepark. Robin Soslow, Chron, 18 Mar. 2022 See South Carolina's scenery by land or water with a bike ride or kayak excursion — pedal or paddle your way around coastal destinations like Hilton Head Island (which is known for its picturesque bike trails). Elizabeth Rhodes, Travel + Leisure, 26 Feb. 2021 Footen is hoping to paddle the lake's shoreline in June to document its receding waters impacted by the western drought. Leia Larsen, The Salt Lake Tribune, 10 Apr. 2022 Others could head to the boathouse and rent a watercraft to paddle around. Paul Eisenberg,, 10 Apr. 2022 This family-friendly special event includes science demonstrations, a laser show, interactive exhibits, paddle boats and an inflatable obstacle course, running through April 17. Los Angeles Times, 1 Apr. 2022 This works, but the cloves get beat up and then there are the bowl, paddle and guard to clean. Washington Post, 29 Mar. 2022 Just like boats and paddle boards and cars and everything else. Laura Johnston, cleveland, 22 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of paddle


circa 1612, 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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Last Updated

17 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Paddle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for paddle


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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