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treadmill

[tred-mil] /ˈtrɛdˌmɪl/
noun
1.
an apparatus for producing rotary motion by the weight of people or animals, treading on a succession of moving steps or a belt that forms a kind of continuous path, as around the periphery of a pair of horizontal cylinders.
2.
an exercise machine that allows the user to walk or run in place, usually on a continuous moving belt.
3.
any monotonous, wearisome routine in which there is little or no satisfactory progress.
Origin
1815-1825
1815-25; tread + mill1
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for treadmill

treadmill

/ˈtrɛdˌmɪl/
noun
1.
Also called treadwheel. (formerly) an apparatus used to produce rotation, in which the weight of men or animals climbing steps on or around the periphery of a cylinder or wheel caused it to turn
2.
a dreary round or routine
3.
an exercise machine that consists of a continuous moving belt on which to walk or jog
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for treadmill
n.

invented (and named) 1822 by William Cubitt of Ipswich, England; originally an instrument of prison discipline; from tread (v.) + mill (n.1).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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