Tread is the pattern molded into area of the tire that contacts the road. The tread patterns are designed to increase traction based on the tire’s intended use. 

Webster Dictionary Meaning

1. Tread
- A step or stepping; pressure with the foot; a footstep; as, a nimble tread; a cautious tread.
- Manner or style of stepping; action; gait; as, the horse has a good tread.
- Way; track; path.
- The act of copulation in birds.
- The upper horizontal part of a step, on which the foot is placed.
- The top of the banquette, on which soldiers stand to fire over the parapet.
- The part of a wheel that bears upon the road or rail.
- The part of a rail upon which car wheels bear.
- The chalaza of a bird's egg; the treadle.
- A bruise or abrasion produced on the foot or ankle of a horse that interferes. See Interfere, 3.
2. Tread
- To set the foot; to step.
- To walk or go; especially, to walk with a stately or a cautious step.
- To copulate; said of birds, esp. the males.
3. Tread
- To step or walk on.
- To beat or press with the feet; as, to tread a path; to tread land when too light; a well-trodden path.
- To go through or accomplish by walking, dancing, or the like.
- To crush under the foot; to trample in contempt or hatred; to subdue.
- To copulate with; to feather; to cover; -- said of the male bird.
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