tread·​mill | \ ˈtred-ˌmil How to pronounce treadmill (audio) \

Definition of treadmill

1a : a device having an endless belt on which an individual walks or runs in place for exercise or physiological testing
b : a mill worked by an animal treading an endless belt
c : a mill worked by persons treading on steps on the periphery of a wide wheel having a horizontal axis and used formerly in prison punishment
2 : a wearisome or monotonous routine resembling continued activity on a treadmill the office treadmill

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of treadmill in a Sentence

the treadmill of exhausting family schedules the treadmill of the morning commute to work
Recent Examples on the Web Benavidez, 24, recalls grasping a handle on the treadmill, then wiping the area around his eyes to remove sweat. José M. Romero, The Arizona Republic, 14 Oct. 2021 Covid and lockdown may have eliminated the constant travel, yet for many the speed of the treadmill has gotten worse. Lisa Earle Mcleod, Forbes, 7 Sep. 2021 There was a big pile of clean laundry on the deck of the treadmill. George Saunders, The New Yorker, 23 Aug. 2021 With the Tread+, the CPSC notes that children, pets, or objects can be sucked underneath the back of the treadmill, posing a risk for injury. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, 5 May 2021 Both men are 59 — too young to retire but too old to stay on a treadmill to nowhere. Ann Killion, San Francisco Chronicle, 2 Oct. 2021 The Cardinals defense treated Ryan Tannehill like a heavy bag, and put Derrick Henry on a treadmill; the defending rushing yard champ going nowhere. Jeremy Cluff, The Arizona Republic, 14 Sep. 2021 Trying to jam more into your day can leave you on a treadmill of striving, but never arriving. Dr Margie Warrell, Forbes, 14 Sep. 2021 Other measures put in place include a maximum speed of 3.73 miles per hour on a treadmill and the closure of gym showers. Jordan Mendoza, USA TODAY, 12 July 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'treadmill.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of treadmill

1822, in the meaning defined at sense 1c

Keep scrolling for more

Buying Guide

Our team at The Usage has selected the best treadmills of 2021.

Learn More About treadmill

Time Traveler for treadmill

Time Traveler

The first known use of treadmill was in 1822

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near treadmill

tread lightly


tread on (someone's) toes

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for treadmill

Last Updated

21 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Treadmill.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Oct. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for treadmill



English Language Learners Definition of treadmill

: an exercise machine which has a large belt that moves around while a person walks or runs on it
: a boring or tiring activity, job, etc., in which you repeatedly do the same things


tread·​mill | \ ˈtred-ˌmil How to pronounce treadmill (audio) \

Kids Definition of treadmill

1 : a device having an endless belt on which an individual walks or runs in place for exercise
2 : a tiresome routine


tread·​mill | \ ˈtred-ˌmil How to pronounce treadmill (audio) \

Medical Definition of treadmill

: a device having an endless belt on which an individual walks or runs in place that is used for exercise and in tests of physiological functions — see stress test

More from Merriam-Webster on treadmill

Nglish: Translation of treadmill for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of treadmill for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!