Definition of rope in English:



  • 1A length of thick strong cord made by twisting together strands of hemp, sisal, nylon, or similar material:

    ‘there was no way down, even with a rope’
    [mass noun] ‘coils of rope’
    • ‘It was being pulleyed by several cords of thick rope overhead.’
    • ‘Together, with Steve hauling on the rope and him climbing, he made it to the top of the cliff.’
    • ‘My eyes came to rest on a long strand of thick hemp rope, slightly frazzled but still in one piece.’
    • ‘He had noticed that the thick sisal rope which had snapped had been cut halfway through with a sharp instrument, probably a knife.’
    • ‘I tried to move my limbs only to find them restrained by what felt like thick strands of rope.’
    • ‘They were linked by a great length of rope modestly coiled at both ends of the row.’
    • ‘She nodded, and tiptoed to pull a length of thick rope from the back of the cart.’
    • ‘The fibers are twisted into ropes and sprayed with natural latex, which increases their elasticity.’
    • ‘He stood up with about a two-foot length of hefty hemp rope in his hands.’
    • ‘He pulled out a small length of thin nylon rope and a knife.’
    • ‘Looming above was a great black ship, tethered to the inlet by several thick ropes disappearing into the deep, dark water.’
    • ‘A single strand of grass is easy to break, but if you weave enough of it together, you can get a nice, strong length of rope.’
    cord, cable, line, strand, hawser
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1North American A lasso.
      • ‘We had eight ropers out the first day and some of them had never thrown a rope in an arena, and there wasn't a calf missed.’
    2. 1.2the rope Used in reference to execution by hanging:
      ‘executions by the rope continued well into the twentieth century’
      • ‘The complete disregard for law and order which is so prevalent today is the direct result of the policies of the Government which resulted in the cane being abolished for disobedient schoolboys and the rope for murderers.’
    3. 1.3the ropes The ropes enclosing a boxing or wrestling ring.
      • ‘The announcer's voice came back into perspective with Dice as he sprinted into the ring, sliding under the ropes.’
      • ‘Hw walked down to the ring and bounced back and forth off the ropes.’
  • 2A quantity of roughly spherical objects such as onions or beads strung together:

    ‘a rope of pearls’
    • ‘She gingerly pulled the rope of pearls out of the box, staring at them in disbelief, as if she expected them to disappear any moment.’
    • ‘How exquisite she would look in the rope of garnet beads my mother gave me years ago for a birthday present.’
    • ‘He wore a rope of shining rubies around his neck and had a gold ring dangling from his right ear.’
    • ‘She had several ropes of long black beads around her neck which she absent-mindedly played with in her hand, and her thin hair was done up in an elaborate style.’
  • 3the ropesinformal The established procedures in an organization or area of activity:

    ‘I want you to show her the ropes’
    • ‘You're going to have to learn the ropes and put in the time.’
    • ‘That's because mentors show you the ropes - those that are tangible and intangible.’
    • ‘Artists are a dime-a-dozen and one needs to know what's hot and learn the ropes of the art trade at the same time.’
    • ‘If it is a big house, consider bringing in an experienced person to show you the ropes and help you figure out the mixes.’
    • ‘They are the pioneers; no one has come before them to show them the ropes.’
    • ‘He was supposed to show me the ropes and introduce me to the work over a period of six months.’
    • ‘Yes, you need to figure out how to sell the service, but once you learn the ropes it's not all that hard to find customers.’
    • ‘I hope you welcome her completely and show her the ropes around here.’
    • ‘It's your first day so just try to learn the ropes, starting tomorrow you're on a five sale daily quota for the first month.’
    • ‘A good staff is the institutional memory of your business; an important resource as you learn the ropes.’
    • ‘Often fresh out of school, they take low-paying jobs at small independent firms to learn the ropes.’
    • ‘I understood exactly his sentiments, having had to learn the ropes less than a year ago, with school already in session when I came.’
    • ‘If you're new at a company, such a network would make it easier to connect with other women who can help you learn the ropes.’
    • ‘Michael was, in fact, an ideal candidate for one of the new middle-manager positions, but first he had to learn the ropes.’
    • ‘In the year out, get work experience in a buying office and learn the ropes.’
    • ‘Do as many student films as you can - learn the ropes here.’
    • ‘What I did was hang around studios and get to learn the ropes.’
    • ‘Expectedly, he began to learn the ropes of movies and worked on screenplays.’
    • ‘He wants me to continue my studies there and learn the ropes of our business.’
    • ‘This is your chance to learn the ropes - remember that flexibility is the key.’
    know what to do, know the procedure, know the routine, know one's way around, know one's stuff, know what's what, understand the set-up, be experienced, be an old hand, know all the ins and outs
    know the drill, know the score
    View synonyms


  • 1Catch, fasten, or secure with rope:

    ‘the calves must be roped and led out of the stockade’
    ‘the climbers were all roped together’
    • ‘She had learned that local cowgirls wanted to compete in bronco riding, bull riding, roping events, and other professional contests, so she included more contests and opened them to any woman who wanted to participate.’
    • ‘Gracie will have her wearing trousers and roping cattle before they go home.’
    • ‘Nevertheless, as a precaution, the murderers roped their victims together and led them to a gully where any attempt to escape would be impeded before they went about their grisly business.’
    • ‘She swung it lazily and with ease, and roped the wild mustang.’
    • ‘Ships were roped together in lines to face an enemy fleet and showers of arrows and missiles would have been exchanged.’
    • ‘With a cord I always carried in my pocket just for such an occasion, I started to rope his hands together.’
    • ‘Michael nodded solemnly as he cautiously roped the bull, then tied the other end to Starlight's saddle, he mounted her and slowly had her back up.’
    • ‘They built a little hut out of a tarp, then roped their plastic ponchos together and hung it between to trees to make a ceiling.’
    • ‘They were roped together and a warder supervising them walked up and down with a rifle.’
    • ‘Tyler roped the object on the roof on his first try.’
    • ‘I was roped to Jim, but it was of no use; my feet were paralyzed and slipped on the bare rock, and he said it was useless to try to go that way, and we retraced our steps.’
    • ‘They rope his hand and attach the other end to a door bolt and leave the poor dolt there.’
    tie, bind, lash, truss, pinion
    secure, moor, fasten, make fast, attach
    hitch, tether, lasso
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1rope something off Enclose or separate an area with a rope or tape:
      ‘police roped off the area’
      • ‘When the speed trials were run, the course was roped off and 100 policemen were posted along the course.’
      • ‘A small area was roped off for all of the royal families.’
      • ‘It also had a gorgeous dining hall, usually used for big parties, but tonight it was roped off and off-limits to the guests of the hotel.’
      • ‘Seems there was yet another bloody ethnic festival on and the street was roped off to traffic.’
      • ‘The entire scene was roped off, and exasperated policemen were shooing annoying news reporters away from the building.’
      • ‘Such is the design and the skilful way alleys and paths are roped off that the crowds just melted away, allowing visitors to browse and enjoy this artist's pallet of beautiful blooms.’
      • ‘And there was a roped off public viewing area off to our left.’
      • ‘The camera circled, showing a cluster of spectators who had been roped off as soon as the police and firefighters arrived, probably with the media at their heels.’
      • ‘You can wander through the various rooms, but most of it is roped off.’
      • ‘Select a site on concrete or gravel, rope the site off and display signs warning of hot containers.’
      • ‘Yesterday the memorial was roped off, and a wreath had been placed beside it.’
      • ‘Instead, the crowds are roped off into sections, and each section is populated by an allowable number of people.’
      • ‘Parking for staff and visitors, already tight, has been diminished as the entire lot has been roped off for visitors to stand in.’
      • ‘They put an object attractive to children up on a pedestal; they did not rope it off, or remove the brushes, or do anything else to discourage its use.’
      • ‘One side of the clearing had been roped off, and several dozen horses grazed there, most of them obviously worth more than the mercenaries watching them.’
      • ‘There were still a few cops outside and the house was roped off, but all seemed to be quiet.’
      • ‘This year, it was finally decided that their crumbling site would be roped off, depriving the revellers of their usual spot.’
      • ‘The area around the tree is roped off and reserved for those with special tickets.’
      • ‘The range to the right of the 2nd tee will be roped off and will accommodate as many players as will assemble there at any one time without any difficulty.’
      • ‘Walking in the rain because the escalators down to the dangerously overcrowded platforms have been roped off for safety.’
    2. 1.2Mountaineering [no object] (of a party of climbers) connect each other together with a rope:
      ‘we stopped at the foot of the ridge and roped up’
      • ‘Halfway up we became lost in a labyrinth of widemouthed crevasses and leaning seracs, and had to rope up and slow down.’
      • ‘We were all roped up at the time for safety, but it is still an amazing feeling to look down past your feet and see a sheer drop of nearly 1,000 ft.’
      • ‘An hour later, having roped up and topped out on it, we're standing on the main crest of the Cuillin, a startlingly sheer, unvegetated massif and the only true alpine landscape in Britain.’
      • ‘Set your alarm for midnight and try to catch a couple of winks before roping up and entering the world of technical glacier travel.’
      • ‘We put crampons over our boots, roped up and ascended the ice cliff in single file, using our ice picks to stabilize us at each step.’
      • ‘Today the team roped up and headed up for a tour of the upper Khumbu Glacier.’
      • ‘I can still see myself roping up, checking all of my knots, and peeking over at Mikey; hoping for a bit of encouragement or maybe just a bit of courage.’
      • ‘You could rope up and go ice climbing on the Kennicott or Root glaciers, or hike across the tundra to an alpine lake.’
      • ‘On finding one we would test its stability, and then cross it roped up to a partner who would potentially catch you dangling on the end of your rope should the thin ice bridge over the crevasse suddenly give way.’
      • ‘The face grew increasingly steep, and we roped up at the base of a vertical crack.’
    3. 1.3rope down/upMountaineering [no object] Climb down or up using a rope:
      ‘the party had been roping down a hanging glacier’
      • ‘The Rock Climbing Section minimized rope burn while rappelling (then called ‘roping down’) by feeding the rope through a carabiner, a metal link attached to their gear.’
      • ‘As he did not share Blackburn's aversion to high places, he and partner Mick Sutcliffe began investigating the occurrence by roping down from the top of the quarry.’
      • ‘So, once again we roped up and got ready to climb.’
      • ‘We roped up at the base, did our cross-check, then climbed up a short wall and across easy slopes, traversing upward and left until we reached an obvious belay.’
  • 2rope someone in/intoPersuade someone, despite reluctance, to take part in (an activity):

    ‘anyone who could sing in tune was roped in’
    • ‘Even when he ran up to her, she managed to avoid talking with him by roping Clark Durand into a dance.’
    • ‘Damian laughed, ‘I roped him in to help me with the video.’’
    • ‘While academicians and sitting district judges were the adjudicators for the semi-finals, three sitting judges of the High Court were roped in for the final.’
    • ‘She roped you in and now you have no choice but to follow her lead.’
    • ‘Liza looked none too pleased to have been roped into this either.’
    • ‘I can't believe some of the things mom ropes me into.’
    • ‘‘I want to start my own lodge’ he says, ready to rope me in as a business partner with whatever I can offer.’
    • ‘The shrimp in their shells may have too much salt for me sometimes, but their general dewiness and cayenne kick rope me in nonetheless.’
    • ‘For the first time, acrobats from Russia have been roped in to ensure there is greater excitement.’
    • ‘Seriosuly, I need to be funnier, and so it would be good if i could rope you in as a nemesis/comedic foil.’
    • ‘This whole business was one big scam to rope me in, you never planned to keep your part of the bargain.’
    • ‘He grinned knowing that they had finally roped Ashton into doing the dare.’
    • ‘Mind you, would have been fun if we could have kept it going a while longer, then, like, roped some poor novice into believing it was a real TV programme.’
    • ‘Lynda and some of her students had been on a field study in the Duddon Valley; Stuart had been roped in to drive the school mini-bus.’
    • ‘What according to you prompted the producers to rope you in as the anchor?’
    • ‘And while I verged on breaking down, I was roped into, very much against my will, a scheme to entrap Alison's husband.’
    • ‘Everyone from his secretary to his valet was expected to help, and the artillery regiment plus hundreds of Chinese labourers were roped in when required for heavy work, such as the movement of large trees.’
    • ‘What I didn't realise was that I would be roped in to attend various meetings between Leonard, Leonora and her parents to try and get all the arrangements sorted.’
    • ‘They all started building sand castles and dams and things and they roped Jimmy and me into it.’
    persuade into, persuade to, talk into, inveigle into
    enlist, engage
    drag in, drag into
    View synonyms


  • give a man enough rope (or plenty of rope) and he will hang himself

    • proverb Given enough freedom of action a person will bring about their own downfall.

  • money for old rope

    • see money
      a cinch, child's play, a gift, a walkover
      a doddle, a walk in the park, a piece of cake, a picnic, money for jam, a breeze, kids' stuff, a cushy job, a cushy number, a doss, a cakewalk, a pushover
      duck soup
      a bludge
      a piece of old tackie
      a snip
      a piece of piss
      View synonyms
  • on the rope

    • Roped together:

      ‘the technique of moving together on the rope’
  • on the ropes

    • 1Forced against the ropes by the opponent's attack.

      • ‘Bogie came out swinging, trying to put Dino on the ropes and Dino responds with a flurry of his own.’
      • ‘It's the first round and Jackie's been on the ropes twice.’
      • ‘He is moving better and not laying on the ropes at all.’
      1. 1.1In state of near collapse or defeat:
        ‘behind the apparent success the company was on the ropes’
        • ‘It's definitely been pushing up the expense to make games, but it's been good for a record industry that's still very much on the ropes.’
        • ‘‘Democrats really feel they have him on the ropes,’ notes one business lobbyist.’
        • ‘Agriculture Canada claims it has the U.S. on the ropes.’
        • ‘This was Ed on the ropes, and we were beginning to feel sorry for him.’
        • ‘With PC sales and corporate investment in a slump, we know they're on the ropes and in deep denial.’
        • ‘Indeed, when a country is on the ropes, the markets respond to every move by the fundamentalists in precisely the opposite way to that expected by them.’
        • ‘The company's image was one of a business on the ropes.’
        • ‘With consumer prices on the ropes, bargains abound at the grocery.’
        • ‘The once-dazzling market is on the ropes as the bear market, fierce competition - and hubris - take their toll’
        • ‘Similarly, it's unwise, in my opinion, to offer false promises to an enemy who's trying to make a deal with you and is already on the ropes, if you can defeat him by straight-forward play.’
        • ‘The US is on the ropes because investment is collapsing, profits are imploding and share prices cascading.’
  • a rope of sand

    • literary Used in allusion to something providing only illusory security or coherence:

      ‘our union will become a mere rope of sand’
      • ‘China was still, as Sun Yatsen said, ‘a rope of sand’.’
      • ‘The effort to maintain his dream with such consistency as to make it a reality is enormous, ‘much more arduous than weaving a rope of sand or coining the faceless wind’.’


Old English rāp, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch reep and German Reif.