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Related to tread on: tread carefully
tread on (someone or something)
1. Literally, to walk on someone or something Please don't tread on the sidewalk until the cement is totally dry. I wasn't watching where I was going and nearly trod on the man lying on the ground.
2. To treat someone harshly, unjustly, or oppressively. The tyrannical government continued to tread on the people of the land until the 1974 uprising. If the company keeps treading on its employees like this, most of them will end up taking their skills elsewhere.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
tread (up)on someone or something
to walk or step on someone or something. (Upon is formal and less commonly used than on. Step is more common than tread.) Don't tread on Sam, who is napping under the tree. Please don't tread on the freshly shampooed carpeting on the stairs.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.