One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A (children's) board game in which players compete to be the first to move their playing piece along an illustrated path to a goal at the top of the board, moving downwards if a ‘chute’ is encountered, or upwards if a ‘ladder’ is encountered. [A trademark in the United States.]
1950s; earliest use found in The New York Times. From the plural of chute + and + the plural of ladder.
Chutes and Ladders/ˌʃuːts (ə)n(d) ˈladəz/
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