Peddle vs. Pedal vs. Petal

Lexical Vexations

peddle v. to sell.

pedal 1. n. a lever pressed by the foot to operate a machine. 2. v. to use a pedal.

petal n. a kind of leaf used by plants to attract pollinators, often brightly coloured.

Words in the Wild: The man was peddling beautiful flowers, each of whose petals gave off the sweetest scent. I bought the loveliest bouquet, secured it in my basket, and pedalled off to meet my date.

I often see these words confused for one another, which can lead to rather odd turns of phrase like no, no, don’t backpetal—I know exactly what you meant to say.

The contributors of the photo of the Manzanillo marketplace are Cheyenne Weil and Joshua Coxwell. The photo is copyrighted but also licenced for further reuse.

Still vexed? You can find a complete list of the Word Blog’s lexical vexations here.

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