Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An often portable structure consisting of two long sides crossed by parallel rungs, used to climb up and down.
  • n. Something that resembles this device, especially a run in a stocking.
  • n. A means of ascent and descent: ascending the social ladder.
  • n. A series of ranked stages or levels: high on the executive ladder.
  • intransitive v. To run, as a stocking does.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A frame usually portable, of wood, metal, or rope, for ascent and descent, consisting of two side pieces to which are fastened cross strips or rounds forming steps.
  • n. That which resembles a ladder in form or use; hence, that by means of which one attains to eminence, e.g. the corporate ladder.
  • n. Length of unravelled fabric in a knitted garment, especially in nylon stockings.
  • n. In the game of go, a sequence of moves following a zigzag pattern and ultimately leading to the capture of the attacked stones.
  • v. To ascend a building or wall using a ladder.
  • v. To develop a ladder as a result of a broken thread.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A frame usually portable, of wood, metal, or rope, for ascent and descent, consisting of two side pieces to which are fastened cross strips or rounds forming steps.
  • n. That which resembles a ladder in form or use

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A frame of wood, metal, or rope, usually portable, and consisting essentially of two side-pieces connected at suitable distances by cross-pieces, generally in the form of rounds or rungs, forming steps by which, when the frame is properly set, a person may ascend a height.
  • n. Figuratively, any means of ascending; a means of rising to eminence.
  • n. In logic, a figure illustrating the theory of the old logic concerning the relations of genera, differences, and species
  • n. Nautical See Jacob's-ladder, 1.
  • n. A series of buckets for dredging and filling which are carried up and down an incline; a bucket-conveyer.
  • n. In railroads, a track which connects by switches the ends of a series of parallel tracks and is used in sorting cars in a drill-yard. See drill-yard.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. come unraveled or undone as if by snagging
  • n. ascending stages by which somebody or something can progress
  • n. steps consisting of two parallel members connected by rungs; for climbing up or down
  • n. a row of unravelled stitches

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old English hlǣder; see klei- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Old English hlǣder, from Proto-Germanic *hlaidriz (compare West Frisian ljedder, Dutch leer, German Leiter), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱleytro (compare Old Irish clithar 'hedge', Umbrian ... (kletram) 'stretcher'), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱley- (“to lean”). More at lean, related to lid. (Wiktionary)

Examples

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • in mountain biking, it's a bridge made from 2 beams and a series of planks with gaps between them.

    January 12, 2013