put the pedal to the metal

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Alternative forms[edit]


Mid-1970s, originated in car racing.[1]


  • (file)


put the pedal to the metal (third-person singular simple present puts the pedal to the metal, present participle putting the pedal to the metal, simple past and past participle put the pedal to the metal)

  1. (idiomatic) To press the gas pedal to the maximum extent.
    Synonyms: floor it, redline
    Coordinate term: give it the gun
    • 2013, Loyd E. Hill, Marvin R. Query, Reap the Wild Seeds, Xlibris Corporation (→ISBN), page 74:
      I released the brakes, smashed the clutch and switched the transmission case into low gear, then put the pedal to the metal again throwing the car into what is known as a “moonshine spin”.
  2. (by extension) To exert maximum effort.
    Synonym: go all out
    • 2007, Donna Carter, 10 Smart Things Women Can Do to Build a Better Life, Harvest House Publishers (→ISBN), page 22:
      There are times for all of us when we have to put the pedal to the metal. Businesspeople and students have deadlines. Parents have periods of time when they don't get breaks because their partners are unavailable or they have no partners.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Josh Chetwynd (2016) The Field Guide to Sports Metaphors, →ISBN, page 90: “The phrase emerged in the mid-1970s and was definitely used in a car-racing context.”