pel·​o·​ton | \ ˌpe-lə-ˈtän How to pronounce peloton (audio) , ˈpe-lə-ˌtän \

Definition of peloton

: the main body of riders in a bicycle race

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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.

Examples of peloton in a Sentence

He broke away from the peloton and sprinted into the lead.
Recent Examples on the Web With an older boat and without the powerful and fast hydrofoils of the leaders like Escoffier, Le Cam has surprised the fleet by leading at times and running near the top of the peloton in this 24,000-mile race. Chris Museler, Star Tribune, "Mariner was rescued at sea by his sailing competitor," 3 Dec. 2020 Now, a party-starting peloton of dance world all-stars will be spinning online in a different way for a virtual cycling event for charity. Katie Bain, Billboard, "A Bunch of DJs Are Doing a Virtual Bike Ride For Charity: See Who's Spinning," 8 Oct. 2020 Over the course of three weeks, this year’s Tour de France peloton pedals through 2,164 miles, five mountain ranges and more pain than most athletes can fathom. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, "How to Exhaust a Tour de France Racer: Ask Him to Take a Walk," 17 Sep. 2020 One of the other race favorites, Primoz Roglic of Slovenia finished in the same time as Bernal, the Jumbo-Visma rider summing up the mood of the peloton on the first day of a three-week race. Paul Gittings, CNN, "Norway's Alexander Kristoff recovers from crash to win chaotic first stage of Tour de France," 29 Aug. 2020 Last weekend, those included French Prime Minister Jean Castex, who sat in Prudhomme’s car at the front of the peloton for an entire stage. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, "Tour de France Plows Ahead, Despite Four Covid Cases Among Team Staffers," 8 Sep. 2020 Hirschi, a former under-23 road race world champion, got away away from the peloton in the first major ascent of the 153-kilometer (95-mile) trek, then resisted the favorites’ chase until he was caught with only 2 kilometers left., "Primoz Roglic leads Tour de France after epic mountain trek," 6 Sep. 2020 Defending champion Egan Bernal of Colombia finished safely in the peloton, but one of his key Team Ineos support riders, Pavel Sivakov, came down twice. Paul Gittings, CNN, "Norway's Alexander Kristoff recovers from crash to win chaotic first stage of Tour de France," 29 Aug. 2020 Roglic, a former ski jumper from Slovenia, has all the qualities required to win this mountainous edition of the Tour that will take the peloton over France’s five mountain ranges. Mark Heim |, al, "Tour de France 2020 live stream (8/28): How to watch online, TV info, time," 29 Aug. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'peloton.' 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 peloton

1951, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for peloton

French, literally, ball — more at platoon

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Time Traveler for peloton

Time Traveler

The first known use of peloton was in 1951

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Statistics for peloton

Last Updated

16 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Peloton.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jan. 2021.

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How to pronounce peloton (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of peloton

: the main group of riders in a bicycle race

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