Der OED-online-Eintrag zur englischen Seite, inklusive Gebrauch im übertragenen Sinne:
"7. trans. To press (something) downwards with the foot or feet treadling or pedalling.to tread water, in swimming, to move the feet as in walking upstairs, while the body is kept erect and the head above water; also fig., to withhold oneself from progressive action, to ‘mark time’.
1680 J. MoxonMech. Exercises I. xii. 209 The nearer the Fore-end of the Treddle you Tread, the easier you bring down the Pole.
1680 J. MoxonMech. Exercises I. xii. 209 Tread the Treddle nimbly down.
1800 Hull Advertiser 15 Nov. 4/3, I always raised myself by treading water.
1853 E. K. KaneU.S. Grinnell Exped. (1856) xxxviii. 343 Seal breast-high, were treading water with their horizontal tails.
1942 J. Lees-MilneAncestral Voices (1975) 46 Although they miscalculated in assuming that the campaign would be over before last winter, they have been treading water since then, and merely keeping up their line.
1967 Guardian 24 May 9 In the absence of the Secretary-General, the UN delegations were treading water.
1980 N. MarshPhoto-finish vi. 180, I am really..treading water until the police arrive."