pedal

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backpedal

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 ?
I flew home and pitched Panasonic executives on my dream for a progressive, educational documentary series, Peace Pedalers Africa.
Since the Smart Power Lab opened November 30, thousands of consumers and an array of celebrity pedalers have ridden Power Rovers to generate energy, to help power the 2011 numerals for at least the first 30 minutes of the New Year.
There are choices for any rider, from Sunday afternoon pedalers to those who like to test their mettle on steep, rock-strewn back roads.
10 - Nashoba Valley Pedalers Fall Century Classic: Ride lengths of 25, 50, 75 and 100 miles, all of which start at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School, 390 Lincoln Road, Sudbury (This is a new starting site this year).
Carla also provided fellow pedalers with recipe cards for her holiday versions of Pumpkin Bisque and Parmesan Shortbread.
Suddenly, the 16-year-old Pedalers Express bicycle cargo delivery business is reporting an uptick in pickup and delivery orders.
on your own or with a group Following the spine of the Canadian Rockies between Banff and Jasper, Alberta, a pair of parkways offer outstanding alpine biking for both long-distance and poke-along pedalers.
The Nashoba Valley Pedalers has many rides planned that sweep though leaf peeping areas, including a group ride through the Stow-Bolton area today and a hilly Harvard loop next Saturday called Giro di Harvard.
From novice pedalers to pro riders there is something for all levels of bikers
And Eugene is not about to rest on its hard, pointy, Lycra-covered saddle: Resident pedalers have big dreams and concrete plans for bike path extensions to crisscross the countryside.
AIDS/LifeCycle 7 set a new record for participation and money raised, attracting cyclists from 12 countries and 42 states, including a contingent of people living with HIV known as the Positive Pedalers.
If horseback riders can get out of the weather, then climbers, paddlers, pedalers, golfers, skaters, runners, walkers and other active folks must have some way to take refuge from the storm.
Nearly 300 riders, crew, volunteers and community supporters, including a group of HIV Positive riders and crew members known as the Positive Pedalers, rolled up to 175 miles on Saturday and Sunday for the statewide Mass Red Ribbon Ride, a collaborative charity bike ride.
The Positive Pedalers will return as well, offering support and giving added faces to this cause.
10 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 300 riders, crew and volunteers, including a group of HIV Positive riders and crew members known as the Positive Pedalers, will roll up to 175 miles this weekend for the statewide Mass Red Ribbon Ride, a collaborative charity bike ride on Saturday, August 13 and Sunday, August 14.