- 3each of a set of two or three levers on a piano, particularly (also sustaining pedal) one which, when depressed, prevents the dampers from stopping the sound when the keys are released. The second is the soft pedal; a third, if present, produces either selective sustaining or complete muffling of the tone.
- short for pedal note.
verb (pedals, pedalling, pedalled; US pedals, pedaling, pedaled)
early 17th century (denoting a foot-operated lever of an organ): from French pédale, from Italian pedale, from Latin pedalis 'a foot in length', from pes, ped- 'foot'
People often confuse the words pedal and peddle. Pedal is a noun referring to a foot-operated lever, as on a bicycle, and a verb chiefly meaning ‘move by working the pedals of a bicycle’ (they pedalled along the road). Peddle, on the other hand, is a verb meaning ‘sell goods or promote an idea’ (he peddled printing materials around the country she peddled a ludicrously Utopian view of the past). The related words pedlar and pedaller are also confused. A pedlar (also spelled peddler, especially in the US) is a person who goes from place to place selling goods; the word for a person who sells illegal drugs or stolen goods (or, metaphorically, who promotes an idea or view) is generally spelled peddler. A pedaller (or, in the US, a pedaler) is someone who rides a bike.