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[vuh-los-uh-peed] /vəˈlɒs əˌpid/
a vehicle, usually having two or three wheels, that is propelled by the rider.
an early kind of bicycle or tricycle.
a light, three-wheeled, pedal-driven vehicle for railway inspection, used for carrying one person on a railroad track.
1810-20; < French vélocipède bicycle, equivalent to véloci- (< Latin, stem of vēlōx quick) + -pède -ped
Related forms
velocipedist, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for velocipede
  • Level setup with inclined tripod on motor velocipede.
British Dictionary definitions for velocipede


an early form of bicycle propelled by pushing along the ground with the feet
any early form of bicycle or tricycle
Derived Forms
velocipedist, noun
Word Origin
C19: from French vélocipède, from Latin vēlōx swift + pēs foot
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for velocipede

1819, "wheeled vehicle propelled by the feet on the ground," from French vélocipède, from Latin velox (genitive velocis) "swift" (see velocity) + pedem, accusative of pes "foot" (see foot (n.)). Applied to an early kind of bicycle or tricycle in 1849.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for velocipede


version of the bicycle reinvented in the 1860s by the Michaux family of Paris. Its iron and wood construction and lack of springs earned it the nickname boneshaker. It was driven by pedaling cranks on the front axle. To increase the distance covered for each turn of the cranks, the front wheel was enlarged until, finally, in the ordinary, or penny-farthing, bicycle, the wheel would just go under the crotch of the rider. The penny-farthing nickname came from the smallest and largest British coins of the time, in reference to the disparity in the size of the wheels. By the second half of the 20th century, the original meaning was restricted to those knowledgeable in the history of the bicycle, while to others it referred to a children's tricycle, which duplicates the differentiated wheel size. The velocipede was eventually replaced by the more stable safety bicycle, having a chain-driven rear wheel

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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