pel·​o·​ton ˌpe-lə-ˈtän How to pronounce peloton (audio)
: the main body of riders in a bicycle race

Did you know?

If you've ever watched the Tour de France on television, you've seen the peloton, the brightly colored pack of riders making up the central group. You may have also gained some inadvertent insight into the word itself, which as you may have guessed is French in origin. In French, "peloton" literally means "ball," but it is most often used with the meaning "group." It's frequently used in the bicycling context, just as in English, but it can also refer to a group in a marathon or other sporting event. French peloton can also mean "squad" or "platoon," and since we’ve told you that you probably won’t be too surprised to learn that it is also the source of our word platoon.

Example Sentences

He broke away from the peloton and sprinted into the lead.
Recent Examples on the Web Just staying in the peloton and drafting would be a test of their sustained power and endurance. Amy Webb, Wired, 16 Oct. 2020 The incident occurred with around 150 kilometers remaining of the stage which gave Evenepoel enough time to catchup with the rest of the peloton, despite taking a few minutes to recover. Ben Church, CNN, 11 May 2023 Van Aert, Quinn Simmons and Jakob Fuglsang broke away and had a four-minute gap to the peloton at one stage, but were gradually reeled back in., 7 July 2022 First, the peloton held a sit-down strike at the start of the stage. Ian Landau, Outside Online, 15 July 2013 Worst peloton ad ever. NBC News, 10 Dec. 2021 It’s called a peloton. Jason Freedman, Forbes, 12 Oct. 2021 Enter peloton and virtual trainers. Quora, Forbes, 3 Nov. 2021 Believe me, a peloton of Harley baggers dragging pipes around mountain hairpins is quite a sight. Dan Neil, WSJ, 6 Jan. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'peloton.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


French, literally, ball — more at platoon

First Known Use

1951, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of peloton was in 1951


Dictionary Entries Near peloton

Cite this Entry

“Peloton.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Jun. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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