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To quickly and often abruptly reverse or retreat from one's position or opinion on a given subject. Refers to pedaling backwards on a bicycle (done to apply the brakes on fixed-gear bikes), or to taking quick, backward steps, as in football or boxing. The actor had to backpedal when he let slip a racist remark during the press conference.

put the pedal to the metal

Sl. to press a car's accelerator to the floor; to drive very fast. Let's go, man. Put the pedal to the metal. Put the pedal to the metal, and we'll make up some lost time.
See also: metal, pedal, put

soft-pedal something

to play something down; to de-emphasize something. (Alludes to the soft pedal on the piano, which reduces the volume.) Try to soft-pedal the problems we have with the cooling system. I won't soft-pedal anything. Everyone must know the truth.

(put) the pedal to the metal

to make something go forward or increase as fast as possible Ingrid put the pedal to the metal and finished writing her essay a day early.
Etymology: based on the idea of pressing a car's gas pedal (a flat piece that you control with your foot) all the way to the floor to make the car go as fast as possible
Related vocabulary: floor it
See also: metal, pedal

soft pedal

Something that de-emphasizes, restrains, or plays down, as in The mayor put a soft pedal on this potentially explosive situation. This expression alludes to the una corda or soft pedal of the piano, which reduces the volume of the sound. It gave rise to the verb soft-pedal, meaning both "reduce the volume of" or "make less emphatic, downplay." [Early 1900s]
See also: pedal, soft

put the pedal to the metal

tv. to press a car’s accelerator to the floor; to floor it. Put the pedal to the metal, and we’re out of here.
See also: metal, pedal, put

soft pedal something

tv. to play something down; to de-emphasize something. (Refers to the soft pedal on the piano.) Try to soft pedal the problems we have with the cooling system.
See also: pedal, soft
References in periodicals archive ?
Fender Musical Instruments Corporation, EarthQuaker Devices, Electro-Harmonix, Pigtronix, Seymour Duncan, TC Electronic and Wampler Pedals to debut new effects gear at the NAMM Show.
All Bullseye pedals are made with heavy-duty, fully shielded steel cases for low noise and maximum durability.
Her Healthy Tots, Happy Tots group to encourage healthy lifestyles, funded by Save the Children and later Comic Relief, has partnered with Drumchapel LIFE to become one of two local Play on Pedals "Hero Organisations", alongside voluntary-led bike shop Wheel Fix It.
scoot "Although the competition runs for three weeks, it has a lasting eect on the way that the school community travel to school; last year 76% of schools who took part in the Big Pedal said that pupils continued to cycle and scoot to school following the event.
To find out more about taking part in the Big Pedal go to: www.
Carolyn Ryves, from Pedal Emporium, who makes pedal-powered generators to promote cycling and sustainability
The Pedal Partner program offers an inspiring opportunity for PMC cyclists to connect with pediatric cancer patients.
This variant can simply be applied mechanically, for instance for measuring the pedal angle.
On 4Runner, known in Japan as Hilux Surf, Lexus LX570 and RAV4, Toyota said it is recalling them for the possible floor mat entrapment of the accelerator pedal, which is the same reason cited in its massive recalls of 2009.
Water-assisted injection moulding is used by Trelleborg to make a hybrid automotive brake pedal which brings a weight saving of 30 - 50 per cent.
The distribution co-ordinator will join hundreds of other women at the National Water Sports Centre in Nottingham for the city's second annual Pedal It Pink day on Sunday, October 17.
Installing the precision-cut steel reinforcement bar into the accelerator pedal assembly took 30 minutes and was free of charge.
A driver who was traveling on a highway outside the San Diego, California area said his Toyota Prius accelerator pedal stuck when he tried to pass a slower vehicle and speeded up to 94 mph, CNN reports.
TOYOTA has confirmed details of the recall of some of its popular models over a potential problem with the throttle pedal.