from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To walk on, over, or along.
  • transitive v. To press beneath the feet; trample.
  • transitive v. To subdue harshly or cruelly; crush.
  • transitive v. To form by walking or trampling: tread a path.
  • transitive v. To execute by walking or dancing: tread a measure.
  • transitive v. To copulate with. Used of a male bird.
  • intransitive v. To go on foot; walk.
  • intransitive v. To set down the foot; step.
  • intransitive v. To press, crush, or injure something by or as if by trampling. Often used with on or upon: trod on her feelings.
  • intransitive v. To copulate. Used of birds.
  • n. The act, manner, or sound of treading.
  • n. An instance of treading; a step.
  • n. A mark made by treading, as in snow.
  • n. The upper horizontal part of a step in a staircase.
  • n. The part of a wheel or tire that makes contact with the road or rails.
  • n. The grooved face of a tire.
  • n. The part of a shoe sole that touches the ground.
  • n. Either of the continuous metal belts with which bulldozers, tanks, and certain other vehicles move over the ground.
  • idiom tread the boards To act on the stage: "We who tread the boards are not the only players of parts in this world” ( John Fowles).
  • idiom tread water To keep the head above water while in an upright position by pumping the legs.
  • idiom tread water To expend effort but make little or no progress to achievement of a goal or an end.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A step.
  • n. A manner of stepping.
  • n. The grooves on the bottom of a shoe or other footwear, used to give grip or traction.
  • n. The horizontal part of a step in a flight of stairs
  • n. The sound made when someone or something is walking.
  • v. To step or walk (on or over something); to trample.
  • v. Simple past tense and past participle of tread.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A step or stepping; pressure with the foot; a footstep; ; a cautious tread.
  • n. Manner or style of stepping; action; gait.
  • n. Way; track; path.
  • n. The act of copulation in birds.
  • n. The upper horizontal part of a step, on which the foot is placed.
  • n. The top of the banquette, on which soldiers stand to fire over the parapet.
  • n.
  • n. The part of a wheel that bears upon the road or rail.
  • n. The part of a rail upon which car wheels bear.
  • n. The chalaza of a bird's egg; the treadle.
  • n. A bruise or abrasion produced on the foot or ankle of a horse that interferes. See Interfere, 3.
  • intransitive v. To set the foot; to step.
  • intransitive v. To walk or go; especially, to walk with a stately or a cautious step.
  • intransitive v. To copulate; said of birds, esp. the males.
  • transitive v. To step or walk on.
  • transitive v. To beat or press with the feet.
  • transitive v. To go through or accomplish by walking, dancing, or the like.
  • transitive v. To crush under the foot; to trample in contempt or hatred; to subdue.
  • transitive v. To copulate with; to feather; to cover; -- said of the male bird.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To form puddles under the tread of horses: said of the ground.
  • To set the foot down, as on the ground.
  • To press or be put down on or as on the ground.
  • To walk; step; especially, to walk with a more or less stately, measured, or cautious step.
  • To copulate, as birds: said especially of a cock-bird.
  • To follow closely.
  • To step or walk on.
  • To beat or press with the feet: as, a well-trodden path.
  • To crush under the foot; trample in contempt or hatred.
  • To dance.
  • To walk.
  • To copulate with or cover, as a bird.
  • To destroy, extinguish, or obliterate by or as by treading or trampling.
  • n. Any horizontal element in a floor upon which the walker treads or presses, and so gives an alarm or makes a signal.
  • n. A step or stepping; footing; pressure with the foot.
  • n. Way; track; path. See trade, n. 2.
  • n. Copulation, as of birds.
  • n. The cicatricula of an egg: so called from the former erroneous belief that it appeared only in fecundated eggs laid by the hen after the tread of the cock. Compare treadle.
  • n. Manner of stepping: as, a horse with a good tread.
  • n. The flat or horizontal part of a step or stair; a tread-board.
  • n. The length of a ship's keel.
  • n. The bearing surface of a wheel or of a runner on a road or rail.
  • n. The part of a rail on which the wheels bear.
  • n. The part of a stilt on which the foot rests.
  • n. That part of the sole of a boot or shoe which touches the ground in walking.
  • n. The top of the banquette of a fortification, on which soldiers stand to fire.
  • n. The upper side of the bed of a lathe between the head-stock and the back-center.
  • n. The width from pedal to pedal of a bicycle.
  • n. A wound on the coronet of a horse's foot, produced by the shoe of either hind or fore foot of the opposite side.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the grooved surface of a pneumatic tire
  • v. apply (the tread) to a tire
  • v. mate with
  • v. put down or press the foot, place the foot
  • n. the part (as of a wheel or shoe) that makes contact with the ground
  • n. structural member consisting of the horizontal part of a stair or step
  • n. a step in walking or running
  • v. tread or stomp heavily or roughly
  • v. brace (an archer's bow) by pressing the foot against the center
  • v. crush as if by treading on


Middle English treden, from Old English tredan.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English treden, from Old English tredan ("to tread, step on, trample, traverse, pass over, enter upon, roam through "), from Proto-Germanic *tredanan, *trudanan. Cognate with Dutch treden, German treten, Danish træde, Swedish träda, Norwegian treda. (Wiktionary)



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  • I have an open list that bilby can add anything to. Would that work? If not I could rejigger one or another of that pile of open lists I made to chase that one list title off the front page a few weeks ago.

    ...That was a hell of a sentence.

    October 12, 2009

  • So, bilby has a thing for water striders, does he?

    *raises a meaningful eyebrow*

    Does anyone have a "What exactly is a bilby, anyhow?" list that we could add this to?

    October 9, 2009

  • Sorry; I should have cited Shakespeare, sonnet 130.

    October 8, 2009

  • My mistress, when she walks, skims over the water ...

    October 8, 2009

  • "My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground..."

    October 8, 2009