tread Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun a step in walking or running
    pace; stride.
  2. noun the grooved surface of a pneumatic tire
  3. noun the part (as of a wheel or shoe) that makes contact with the ground
  4. noun structural member consisting of the horizontal part of a stair or step
  5. verb put down or press the foot, place the foot
    • For fools rush in where angels fear to tread
    • step on the brake
  6. verb tread or stomp heavily or roughly
    • The soldiers trampled across the fields
  7. verb crush as if by treading on
    • tread grapes to make wine
  8. verb brace (an archer's bow) by pressing the foot against the center
  9. verb apply (the tread) to a tire
  10. verb mate with
    • male birds tread the females


Tread intransitive verb
OE. treden, AS. tredan; akin to OFries. treda, OS. tredan, D. & LG. treden, G. treten, OHG. tretan, Icel. troa, Sw. tråda, träda, Dan. træde, Goth. trudan, and perhaps ultimately to F. tramp; cf. Gr. a running, Skr. dram to run. Cf. Trade, Tramp, Trot.
imperfect Trod ; past participle Trodden Trod; present participle & verbal noun Treading
  1. To set the foot; to step.
    Where'er you tread, the blushing flowers shall rise. Pope.
    Fools rush in where angels fear to tread. Pope.
    The hard stone Under our feet, on which we tread and go. Chaucer.
  2. To walk or go; especially, to walk with a stately or a cautious step.
    Ye that . . . stately tread, or lowly creep. Milton.
  3. To copulate; said of birds, esp. the males. Shak.
    One woe doth tread upon another's heel. Shak.
Tread transitive verb
  1. To step or walk on.
    Forbid to tread the promised land he saw. Prior.
    Methought she trod the ground with greater grace. Dryden.
  2. To beat or press with the feet; as, to tread a path; to tread land when too light; a well-trodden path.
  3. To go through or accomplish by walking, dancing, or the like. " I am resolved to forsake Malta, tread a pilgrimage to fair Jerusalem." Beau. & Fl.
    They have measured many a mile, To tread a measure with you on this grass. Shak.
  4. To crush under the foot; to trample in contempt or hatred; to subdue.
    Through thy name will we tread them under that rise up against us. Ps. xliv. 5.
  5. To copulate with; to feather; to cover; -- said of the male bird. Chaucer.
Tread noun
  1. A step or stepping; pressure with the foot; a footstep; as, a nimble tread; a cautious tread.
    She is coming, my own, my sweet; Were it ever so airy a tread, My heart would hear her and beat. Tennyson.
  2. Manner or style of stepping; action; gait; as, the horse has a good tread.
  3. Way; track; path. R. Shak.
  4. The act of copulation in birds.
  5. (Arch.) The upper horizontal part of a step, on which the foot is placed.
  6. (Fort.) The top of the banquette, on which soldiers stand to fire over the parapet.
  7. (Mach.) (a) The part of a wheel that bears upon the road or rail. (b) The part of a rail upon which car wheels bear.
  8. (Biol.) The chalaza of a bird's egg; the treadle.
  9. (Far.) A bruise or abrasion produced on the foot or ankle of a horse that interferes. See Interfere, 3.

Webster 1913