Definition of ladder in US English:

ladder

noun

  • 1A structure consisting of a series of bars or steps between two upright lengths of wood, metal, or rope, used for climbing up or down something.

    • ‘Resting there, miraculously, was a ladder, the rusting metal kind, like the fire escapes on apartments.’
    • ‘Raul turned away angrily, climbing back up the ladder to middle deck.’
    • ‘Leaves in different parts of the canopy were accessed with ladders, climbing ropes, and a hydraulic lift, to facilitate photosynthetic measurements with hand-held instruments.’
    • ‘When your foot was on the roof, you had to transfer your weight from the ladder to the roof and then step off the ladder fully.’
    • ‘A set of wooden ladders led up to the nearest entrance to the cave system.’
    • ‘And that forced me to get even higher up on the rickety ladder.’
    • ‘He had brought all the necessary tools for scaling a wall: ladders, ropes, even a sort of high platform they could wheel next to the wall.’
    • ‘You run around climbing ladders, shimmying across ropes and running from one platform to another, collecting gems while avoiding the bad guys.’
    • ‘As the engines stopped, the firefighters cleared my pilot to shut down and to lower the boarding ladder.’
    • ‘The time it takes to climb a rope or scale a ladder leaves soldiers highly vulnerable to attack.’
    • ‘The wooden ladder led the young men to an attic.’
    • ‘I need a tall step ladder to change a light bulb.’
    • ‘They spent more than 11 hours containing the blaze and used a turntable ladder to douse it from above.’
    • ‘This leads to a series of climbs facilitated by aluminium ladders and fixed ropes.’
    • ‘The hastily lowered ladder leaned at the back, looking as though it would come crashing down at any moment.’
    • ‘Entrance for the others by means of climbing ropes or ladders over the wall would be possible, but they needed a quick exit route, and hoped to be carrying Grenwald, bound and gagged as they left.’
    • ‘We climbed the old wooden ladder to the loft.’
    • ‘Vincent climbed down the rusty fire escape ladder and leapt down to the unpaved cobblestone street below.’
    • ‘There are fixed ropes, ladders and even rudimentary staircases cut into the hard snow, leading to the main route being dubbed a ‘yak track’.’
    • ‘Climbing wire rope ladders in a wet or dry suit requires good technique and plenty of stamina.’
    1. 1.1 A series of ascending stages by which someone or something may advance or progress.
      ‘employees on their way up the career ladder’
      • ‘This email was from an inspector, who I think is higher up the police ladder than an officer.’
      • ‘They've followed the rules, been generously rewarded, and climbed society's ladder of success.’
      • ‘Barrie Weatherall takes another step up the ladder as he and his York company receive a £10,000 Smart Micro Award.’
      • ‘This process of climbing up the hierarchical ladder can go on indefinitely, until the member reaches a position where he or she is incompetent.’
      • ‘In the mid-1990s, the city began climbing up the evolutionary ladder.’
      • ‘The mass media and the rest of corporate America are enthralled with professionals scaling career ladders to new heights.’
      • ‘Rather than being ladders of success, our lives are more like rivers.’
      • ‘By the beginning of the twentieth century Catholic Irish Americans were clearly ascending the occupational ladder.’
      • ‘Murdock is taking on an expanded role of football development manager, while Wood takes his first step on the coaching ladder and will be assisted by Paul Penrice and Martin Oglanby.’
      • ‘Muslims have begun to ascend the ladder in politics, business and the media.’
      • ‘As she climbs the corporate ladder to the top, Kate also grows to love her gentleman caller.’
      • ‘Latham has just added a few more rungs to his ladder of political opportunity.’
      • ‘Excluded from society, essentially cut out of her aunt's will, Lily descends the social ladder.’
      • ‘The idea behind the Ka was ingenious, offering the first step on the Ford ladder for many young drivers.’
      • ‘They needed to prove that women were just as determined as men to ascend the corporate ladder.’
      • ‘Often when an executive takes that last step up the ladder and becomes chairman of a company, the view from the top is strewn with things that need to be cleaned up.’
      • ‘An increasing number of parents are helping their children get on the property ladder.’
      • ‘Rather than fixing a position on a hierarchical socio-economic ladder, consumerism establishes lateral connections that affirm middle-class affiliation.’
      • ‘Job loss is increasingly worse for you the higher up the skill ladder you are.’
      • ‘Their only chance to get a foot on the property ladder is in places like Carlow.’
      hierarchy, scale, set of stages, stratification, pecking order, grading, ranking, spectrum
      View synonyms
  • 2British A vertical strip of unraveled fabric in tights or stockings; a run.

    • ‘In our house, a clear-out involves binning the odd pair of tights with more ladders than Bob The Builder, or removing a bunch of long-dead flowers from a vase.’
    • ‘She's a social climber with ladders in her stockings but a good heart.’
    • ‘By the time I've yanked on my stockings and managed to rip a ladder in them, I know it's going to be a brilliant day.’
    • ‘The list is as long as a ladder in a pair of tights.’
    • ‘They had to be mended by hand or taken to one of shops in the city where a young woman repaired ladders in silk stockings using a special stand and hook.’
    rip, hole, split, rent, cut, slash, slit
    View synonyms

verb

British
  • (with reference to tights or stockings) develop or cause to develop a run.

    with object ‘I laddered my tights as I arrived this morning’
    no object ‘the first time I put them on, one of the stockings laddered’

Origin

Old English hlǣd(d)er, of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch leer and German Leiter.

Pronunciation

ladder

/ˈladər//ˈlædər/