Live English Open Dictionary

Open Dictionary word of the week: peloton

peloton (noun)

in cycling and other sports, the main group of competitors

In the fluid motion of the peloton there’s one golden rule: if you’re not moving forwards, you’re moving backwards.

(Submitted from the United Kingdom)

There’s a whole world of language in every sport, isn’t there? And some of it so poetic. Peloton comes from the same French word  meaning ‘pellet’ or little ball. I’d never heard of it before but it sounds like a perfect collective noun for a group of cyclists: rolling along tightly together, affected by the wind, traction and each other as if a single unit. Like a physical manifestation of ‘flow‘ – something like watching a murmuration of starlings or, apparently, traffic flow in Delhi.

Lots of sports terms were entered in the Open Dictionary over the last two weeks, of course, including repechage “in rowing, cycling, and other sports, an extra heat in which fast losers are given another chance to qualify for later rounds.” Fast losers. I love that. And kierin – also something to do with cycling but not poetic. And now that everyone who’s anyone has medalled and podiumed maybe it’s time to sit back in the wake, and read over all the sports posts we have on the blog. Turns out there’s a lot of them – a whole month’s worth, in fact.

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Laine Redpath Cole

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