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

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 The peloton will remain in Brittany for Monday’s third stage, a flat 113.6-mile trek between Lorient and Pontivy that is tailor-made for sprinters . . ., 27 June 2021 Winner Anna Kiesenhofer of Austria was still ahead of the peloton after an early breakway, but van der Breggen and her teammates thought all the riders had returned to the main group. Dave Skretta, Star Tribune, 27 July 2021 At Kagosaka Pass, Kiesenhofer decided to take off, and the rest of the peloton forgot about her., 25 July 2021 The peloton already knows that in the coming years, this could become a familiar feeling. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, 18 July 2021 Even the word peloton refers to the main group of bicycle riders in a race, the ones who aren’t in the breakaway lead group or chase pack. Devin Kelly, Longreads, 23 July 2021 The tension of a sprint starts to build in the final kilometers of a flat stage, when teams betting on a victory hit the front of the peloton and string out their riders. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, 16 July 2021 Some ways behind him was a black dot representing the advancing Tour de France peloton, which Morton managed to outrun — a novel experience for the journeyman rider. Joshua Hunt, New York Times, 14 July 2021 Lorena Wiebes won the group sprint at the finish of the fifth stage of the Giro d’Italia Donne while Olympic champion Anna van der Breggen finished safely in the peloton to maintain her big lead in the overall standings., 7 July 2021

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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The first known use of peloton was in 1951

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Cite this Entry

“Peloton.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jan. 2022.

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English Language Learners Definition of peloton

: the main group of riders in a bicycle race


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