General English


  • noun a series of patterns moulded into the surface of a tyre to provide grip

Cars & Driving

  • noun the part of the tyre that makes contact with the road; it is the thickest part of the tyre and is cut with grooves to provide traction for driving and stopping


  • The horizontal part of a stair. Historically, treads have been made from 5/4" x 12" vertical-grain lumber called stepping. In recent years, however, most stepping has been made from particle board that is given a bullnosed edge.
  • High-friction coating on a pulley for the purpose of reducing slippage of the belt.

Real Estate

  • noun the width of the horizontal part of a step, measured from front to back

Origin & History of “tread”

Tread comes from a prehistoric Germanic *trethan, which also produced German treten, Dutch treden, Swedish träda, and Danish træde. It does not appear to have any relations outside Germanic, however. Trade comes from the same base, and it is thought that trot (13th c.) may do so too, although its immediate source was Old French troter.