1 [pad-l]
a short, flat bladed oar for propelling and steering a canoe or small boat, usually held by both hands and moved more or less through a vertical arc.
any of various similar implements used for mixing, stirring, or beating.
any of various similar but smaller implements with a short handle for holding in one hand and a wide or rounded blade, used for a racket in table tennis, paddle tennis, etc.
such an implement or a similarly shaped makeshift one, used to spank or beat someone.
an implement used for beating garments while washing them in running water, as in a stream.
Also called float, floatboard. a blade of a paddle wheel.
any of the blades by which a water wheel is turned.
a flipper or limb of a penguin, turtle, whale, etc.
an act of paddling.
Also, pattle. British Dialect. a small spade with a long handle, used to dig up thistles.
(in a gate of a lock or sluice) a panel that slides to permit the passage of water.
verb (used without object), paddled, paddling.
to propel or travel in a canoe or the like by using a paddle.
to row lightly or gently with oars.
to move by means of paddle wheels, as a steamer.
verb (used with object), paddled, paddling.
to propel with a paddle: to paddle a canoe.
to spank or beat with or as with a paddle.
to stir, mix, or beat with or as with a paddle
to convey by paddling, as a canoe.
to hit (a table-tennis ball or the like) with a paddle.
paddle one's own canoe. canoe ( def 6 ).

1375–1425; late Middle English padell (noun)

paddler, noun Unabridged


2 [pad-l]
verb (used without object), paddled, paddling.
to move the feet or hands playfully in shallow water; dabble.
to toy with the fingers.
to toddle.

1520–30; origin uncertain

paddler, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
paddle1 (ˈpædəl)
1.  a short light oar with a flat blade at one or both ends, used without a rowlock to propel a canoe or small boat
2.  Also called: float a blade of a water wheel or paddle wheel
3.  a period of paddling: to go for a paddle upstream
4.  a.  a paddle wheel used to propel a boat
 b.  (as modifier): a paddle steamer
5.  the sliding panel in a lock or sluicegate that regulates the level or flow of water
6.  any of various instruments shaped like a paddle and used for beating, mixing, etc
7.  a table-tennis bat
8.  the flattened limb of a seal, turtle, or similar aquatic animal, specialized for swimming
9.  to propel (a canoe, small boat, etc) with a paddle
10.  paddle one's own canoe
 a.  to be self-sufficient
 b.  to mind one's own business
11.  (tr) to convey by paddling: we paddled him to the shore
12.  (tr) to stir or mix with or as if with a paddle
13.  to row (a boat) steadily, esp (of a racing crew) to row firmly but not at full pressure
14.  (intr) (of steamships) to be propelled by paddle wheels
15.  (intr) to swim with short rapid strokes, like a dog
16.  informal (US), (Canadian) (tr) to spank
[C15: of unknown origin]

paddle2 (ˈpædəl)
1.  to walk or play barefoot in shallow water, mud, etc
2.  to dabble the fingers, hands, or feet in water
3.  to walk unsteadily, like a baby
4.  archaic (tr) to fondle with the fingers
5.  the act of paddling in water
[C16: of uncertain origin]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1407, padell "small spade," from M.L. padela, perhaps from L. patella "pan, plate," dim. of patina. Meaning "short oar with a wide blade" is from 1624. As an instrument used for beating clothes (and slaves, and schoolboys), it is recorded from 1828, Amer.Eng.; the verb meaning "to beat with a paddle,
spank" is first recorded 1856. Paddlewheel is from 1805.

"to dabble, wade in water," 1530, probably cognate with Low Ger. paddeln "tramp about," freq. of padjen "to tramp, to run in short steps," from pad (v.). Meaning "to move in water by means of paddles" (1677) is a different word, from paddle (n.).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Computing Dictionary

Paddle definition

A language for transformations leading from specification to program. Used in the POPART programming environment generator.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


In addition to the idiom beginning with paddle, also see up the creek (without a paddle).

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
Propel and steer the boat by using one double-bladed paddle.
But he found a box of provisions and a paddle, and salvaged both by swimming
  into midstream after them.
He must be the wielder of axe and of paddle, the rider of fiery horses, the
  master of the craft that leaps through white water.
During each paddle stroke, the pressure of the water against the concrete hull
  compresses it slightly.
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