tread·mill | \ ˈtred-ˌmil \

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

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Synonyms for treadmill


drill, grind, groove, pattern, rote, routine, rut

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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

Some barely leave the house, forgoing activities like outdoor runs for the basement treadmill. Dugan Arnett,, "Shopper’s delight: Unique boutiques and bargain browsing, all with no tax," 15 May 2018 TransHab featured private crew quarters and ceilings high enough to allow tall astronauts to run on treadmills. James R. Hagerty, WSJ, "Constance Adams Helped Design Habitations for Mars-Bound Astronauts," 6 July 2018 Researchers gather data through testing on treadmills—because outdoor walking often makes up a quarter of a typical commute—to figure out how the jacket can modulate heat. Bloomberg, Fortune, "Now You Can Wear Sweatpants to Work and No One Will Know," 23 June 2018 Stock contractors stay on top of big order for rodeo How the FW Stock Show took a page from NASCAR in terms of safety Steers on treadmills? Robert Philpot, star-telegram, "Cinnamon rolls. Buffalo rib-eyes. Dots. Here’s a by-the-numbers look at Stock Show chow," 30 Jan. 2018 While some used a treadmill, others used an elliptical machine or a stationary bicycle. Gretchen Reynolds, New York Times, "Exercise May Aid in Weight Loss. Provided You Do Enough.," 4 July 2018 The first-ever beauty launch from the glass water bottle–maker BKR—a hydrating rose-scented lip balm that snaps onto the cap—is a treadmill twofer. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "6 Athleisure Beauty Products to Stash In Your Gym Bag This Summer," 26 June 2018 One video shows the woman walking up to a treadmill with a dumbbell and smashing the console and screen of the machine. Scott Berson, miamiherald, "She asked to use the gym but wasn't a member. Then the destruction began, video shows," 11 June 2018 Some of them even arrive at the same time, or use the same machines, or perform the same circuit of exercises (treadmill for ten; sauna for forty-five). Clay Skipper, GQ, "Is the Gym a Good Place to Make Friends? An Investigation," 6 May 2018

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.

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First Known Use of treadmill

1822, in the meaning defined at sense 1c

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Statistics for treadmill

Last Updated

13 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for treadmill

The first known use of treadmill was in 1822

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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 \

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 \

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

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Comments on treadmill

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an open space surrounded by woods

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