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IPA(key): /ˈpædl̩/, /ˈpæ.dəl/ (US)

IPA(key): [ˈpʰæ.ɾɫ̩]


Partly from the verb paddle (“to splash, dabble”; see below) and partly from Middle English padell (“small spade”). Middle English padell is from Medieval Latin padela, itself of uncertain origin: perhaps an alteration of Middle English *spaddle, a diminutive of spade; or from Latin patella (“pan, plate”), the diminutive of patina, or a merger of the two. Compare Ancient Greek πηδάλιον (pēdálion, “rudder, steering oar”), derived from πηδός (pēdós, “the blade of an oar; an oar”).


paddle (plural paddles)

  1. A two-handed, single-bladed oar used to propel a canoe or a small boat.
  2. A double-bladed oar used for kayaking.
  3. Time spent on paddling.
    We had a nice paddle this morning.
  4. A slat of a paddleboat’s wheel.
  5. A paddlewheel.
  6. A blade of a waterwheel.
  7. (video games, dated) A game controller with a round wheel used to control player movement along one axis of the video screen.
  8. (Britain) A meandering walk or dabble through shallow water, especially at the seaside.
  9. A kitchen utensil shaped like a paddle and used for mixing, beating, etc.
  10. A broad, flat spanking implement.
    The paddle practically ousted the British cane for spankings in the independent US.
  11. (ping pong) A broad, flat device used in striking the ball, analogous to a racket in tennis.
    Synonyms: racketbat (UK)
  12. A flat limb of an aquatic animal adapted for swimming.
    A sea turtle’s paddles make it swim almost as fast as land tortoises are slow.
  13. In a sluice, a panel that controls the flow of water.
  14. A group of inerts.
  15. A handheld defibrillation/cardioversion electrode.
  16. (slang) hand
  17. (sports) Alternative form of padel
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