trea·​dle | \ ˈtre-dᵊl \

Definition of treadle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a swiveling or lever device pressed by the foot to drive a machine


treadled; treadling\ ˈtred-​liŋ , ˈtre-​dᵊl-​iŋ \

Definition of treadle (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to operate a treadle

transitive verb

: to operate (a machine) by a treadle

Examples of treadle in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Tetrev’s father helped build out the space, which features a treadle-type pottery wheel in the window of the storefront. Caitlin Mullen,, "'It's art that's to be used': Oak Park pottery shop owner says his creations are not meant to be locked away," 12 June 2018 British dentists in the 1970s, when power outages were a regular occurrence, might have kept an old treadle drill in the cupboard to add fillings without using electricity. Roslyn Sulcas, New York Times, "This Exhibition Has Real Bite," 7 June 2018 Stoppelman explained that individual warp threads, which make up the longitudinal pattern in woven cloth, are put on a roller and then threaded individually through wire heddles, which are attached to a shaft and then to a foot treadle. Annie Gentile, Courant Community, "Rag Rug Project Upcycles Old Cloth," 22 Mar. 2018

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


15th century, in the meaning defined above


1891, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for treadle


Middle English tredel step of a stair, from Old English, from tredan

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Time Traveler for treadle

The first known use of treadle was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for treadle



English Language Learners Definition of treadle

: a small, flat bar that you press with your foot to operate a machine (such as a pump or sewing machine)


trea·​dle | \ ˈtre-dᵊl \

Kids Definition of treadle

: a device worked by the foot to drive a machine

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More from Merriam-Webster on treadle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with treadle

Spanish Central: Translation of treadle

Nglish: Translation of treadle for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about treadle

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