Pedal or Peddle?

by Craig Shrives

What Is the Difference between "Pedal" and "Peddle"?

"Pedal" and "peddle" are easy to confuse because they sound identical (i.e., they are perfect homonyms). However, their meanings are very different.
  • "Pedal" is a noun referring to a lever pressed or activated by the foot. For example:
    • Gently press down on the left pedal.
  • "Pedal" is also a verb meaning to push pedals. For example:
    • Pedal as fast as you can.
  • "Peddle" is a verb meaning to sell goods or to promote ideas. For example:
    • I can peddle those TVs for you, governor.
    • He peddles right-wing propaganda on street corners.
pedal or peddle?

More about "Pedal" and "Peddle"

The words "pedal" and "peddle" sound identical. Therefore, they are homonyms. (More, specifically, "pedal" and "peddle" are a type of homonym called homophones.)

Pedal

As a noun, a "pedal" is a lever or treadle, usually pressed or turned by the foot, in a mechanism (e.g., bicycle, piano).
The verb "to pedal" refers to the act of turning pedals (usually with your feet).

Example sentences with "pedal":
  • I couldn't pedal a bike as a child, so I had a donkey instead. (Paralympic Games gold medallist Lee Pearson)
  • When Mr. Ludwig invented the bass-drum pedal, that's what made the drum set possible. (Musician Neil Peart)

Peddle

The verb "to peddle" means to sell (goods, illegal items, stolen items) or to promote (ideas or views).
We often encounter "to peddle" in the context of the selling of illegal drugs or other illicit items.

Example sentences with "peddle":
  • The group was arrested after trying to peddle guns.
  • (Here, "to peddle" means to sell.)
  • He criticized his fellow candidate for peddling risky ideas.
  • (Here, "to peddle" means to promote.)

Pedalling or Pedaling

The -ing form of the verb "to pedal" has a different spelling in British English and American English.
  • We are pedaling as fast as we can. ()
  • We are pedalling as fast as we can. ()

Common Terms with "Pedal" and "Peddle"

Common Terms with "Pedal":
  • pedal bin
  • pedal bike
  • pedal clips
  • guitar pedal
  • pedal power
Common Terms with "peddle":
  • peddle goods
  • peddle ideas
  • peddle drugs

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See Also

adverse or averse? affect or effect? appraise or apprise? avenge or revenge? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? discreet or discrete? disinterested or uninterested? e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? imply or infer? its or it's? material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? practice or practise? principal or principle? cannot or can not? who's or whose? What are adjectives? List of easily confused words

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