1 of 2


trea·​dle ˈtre-dᵊl How to pronounce treadle (audio)
: a swiveling or lever device pressed by the foot to drive a machine


2 of 2


treadled; treadling ˈtred-liŋ How to pronounce treadle (audio)

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
In December 1943, longtime contributor Walter E. Burton explained how to motorize a treadle sewing machine. Bill Gourgey, Popular Science, 25 Apr. 2023 During the Civil War, a treadle machine, as well as hand sewing, provided the extensive wardrobe needed by the soldiers. Brenda Yenke,, 19 Sep. 2019 His only machinery was a buffing machine and a sewing table with a treadle. Los Angeles Times, 22 Oct. 2019 The treadle model #15 is now nearing antique status, being made from 1895 to 1995. Brenda Yenke,, 19 Sep. 2019 Tenzi started giving sewing lessons last year, teaching the class using old-fashioned treadle machines because City of Hope wasn’t on the electrical grid. Shay Maunz, Glamour, 8 Mar. 2019 Tetrev’s father helped build out the space, which features a treadle-type pottery wheel in the window of the storefront. Caitlin Mullen,, 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, 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, 22 Mar. 2018

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

Word History



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

First Known Use


15th century, in the meaning defined above


1891, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

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

Dictionary Entries Near treadle

Cite this Entry

“Treadle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
trea·​dle ˈtred-ᵊl How to pronounce treadle (audio)
: a lever or other device pressed by the foot to operate a machine


2 of 2 verb
treadled; treadling ˈtred-liŋ How to pronounce treadle (audio)
: to operate a treadle on a machine

More from Merriam-Webster on treadle

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