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Definition pad

Etymology 1

1554, "bundle of straw to lie on", probably from Low German or West Flemish pad (“sole of the foot”).


pad (plural pads)

  1. A flattened mass of anything soft, to sit or lie on.
  2. A cushion used as a saddle without a tree or frame.
  3. A soft, or small, cushion.
  4. A cushion-like thickening of the skin on the under side of the toes of animals.
  5. The mostly hairless flesh located on the bottom of an animal's foot or paw.
  6. Any cushion-like part of the human body, especially the ends of the fingers.
  7. A stuffed guard or protection, especially one worn on the legs of horses to prevent bruising.
  8. A soft bag or cushion to relieve pressure, support a part, etc.
  9. A sanitary napkin.
  10. (US) A floating leaf of a water lily or similar plant.
  11. (cricket) A soft cover for a batsman's leg that protects it from damage when hit by the ball.
  12. A kind of cushion for writing upon, or for blotting, especially one formed of many flat sheets of writing paper; now especially such a block of paper sheets as used to write on.
  13. A panel or strip of material designed to be sensitive to pressure or touch.
  14. A keypad.
  15. A flat surface or area from which a helicopter or other aircraft may land or be launched.
  16. An electrical extension cord with a multi-port socket one end: "trip cord"
  17. The effect produced by sustained lower reed notes in a musical piece, most common in blues music.
  18. A synthesizer instrument sound used for sustained background sounds.
  19. (US, slang) A bed.
  20. (colloquial) A small house, apartment, or mobile home occupied by a single person; such as a bachelor, playboy, etc.
  21. (Britain, slang) A prison cell.
  22. (cryptography) A random key (originally written on a disposable pad) of the same length as the plaintext.
  23. A mousepad.
  24. (electronics) The amount by which a signal has been reduced.
  25. (nautical) A piece of timber fixed on a beam to fit the curve of the deck.

pad (third-person singular simple present pads, present participle padding, simple past and past participle padded)

  1. (transitive) To stuff.
  2. (transitive) To furnish with a pad or padding.
  3. (transitive) To increase the size of, especially by adding undesirable filler.
  4. (transitive) To imbue uniformly with a mordant.
  5. (transitive, cricket) To deliberately play the ball with the leg pad instead of the bat.

Etymology 2

From Middle English pade, padde, from Old English padde, from Proto-Germanic *paddǭ (“toad”). Cognate with Dutch pad, German Low German Pad (“toad”), dialectal German Padde, Danish padde, Swedish padda, Icelandic padda (“toad”), and possibly to English paddle.


pad (plural pads)

  1. (Britain, dialectal) A toad.

Etymology 3

From Dutch pad or Middle Low German pat (“path”). Doublet of path.


pad (plural pads)

  1. (Britain, dialectal, Australia, Ireland) A footpath, particularly one unformed or unmaintained; a road or track. See footpad.
  2. An easy-paced horse; a padnag.
  3. (Britain, obsolete) A robber that infests the road on foot; a highwayman or footpad.
  4. The act of highway robbery.

Etymology 4

Perhaps an alteration of ped.


pad (plural pads)

  1. (Britain, dialectal) A type of wickerwork basket, especially as used as a measure of fish or other goods.

Etymology 5

Probably partly from Middle Low German, partly imitative.


pad (third-person singular simple present pads, present participle padding, simple past and past participle padded)

  1. (transitive) To travel along (a road, path etc.).
  2. (intransitive) To travel on foot.
  3. (intransitive) To wear a path by walking.
  4. (intransitive) To walk softly, quietly or steadily, especially without shoes.
  5. (intransitive, obsolete) To practise highway robbery.

Etymology 6

Probably imitative, perhaps related to or influenced by Etymology 5, above.



  1. Indicating a soft flat sound, as of bare footsteps.

pad (plural pads)

  1. The sound of soft footsteps, or a similar noise made by an animal etc.

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