Definition of rappel in English:



  • Descend a rock face or other near-vertical surface by using a doubled rope coiled around the body and fixed at a higher point.

    ‘they had to rappel down a long steep ice face’
    • ‘She lay perfectly still as they fetched another man, who rappelled down on a rope and picked Tori up.’
    • ‘In a field known for its swashbuckling one-upmanship, Hose often arrives first at a site, where she rappels down hundreds of feet of rope with a 70-pound pack and then shimmies through insanely skinny passageways.’
    • ‘We lived in the jungle for two weeks, swam rivers, rappelled, ate exotic animals, ran an evasion survival course, built stick shelters and got used to the heat of day and cold of night.’
    • ‘Minutes later, she rappelled to the ground and was embraced by friends.’
    • ‘He rappels down near-vertical rock faces hundreds of feet above the Pacific, scales tall palms, and slogs through lush vegetation into deep valleys.’
    • ‘Sullivan, a would-be stuntman, was arrested last September after he jumped from the bridge and rappelled down with a rope, bouncing off the deck of the cruise ship before coming to a halt above the waters of Burrard Inlet.’
    • ‘He then rigged anchors, fixed a rope and rappelled to the canyon floor.’
    • ‘Once at the top, the team will decide whether conditions are stable enough to rappel for three days off loops of rope webbing and fingers of ice, or whether they should walk down the safer, but slower, west spur.’
    • ‘We ascended vertical lines and rappelled back down.’
    • ‘Not since I first rappelled have I felt this mix of fear and uncertainty.’
    • ‘To reach the nests, biologists rappelled down ravines, carrying with them a picnic cooler filled with warm millet to cushion the eggs and keep them warm.’
    • ‘Arnold grunted as he rappelled down the side of the crevice.’
    • ‘He tied the rope to a sturdy pipe just barely jutting out of the roof, and rappelled down the shaft, sadly only making it halfway.’
    • ‘We rappelled over the edge using several methods of descent.’
    • ‘Banding teams either rappelled or climbed to eyries that contained young.’
    • ‘As soon as I knew it was safe to clean the top-rope anchor so I could rappel, I tested and checked the system another fourteen times before submitting myself to the rope and three bolts.’
    • ‘After a six-hour standoff, Spanish special forces rappelled from a helicopter onto the moving deck while snipers stood by.’
    • ‘I immediately rappelled down to it and attached myself.’
    • ‘When the sky turned a deep purple with orange and red streaks, we rappelled down, packed up and hiked to the car in the dark.’
    • ‘The lives of climbers often hinge on their strength as they dangle from ropes hundreds of feet in the air, rappelling to the safety of the solid ground below.’


  • A descent made by rappelling.

    ‘they were careful in setting up the rappel’
    • ‘We started down and did two rappels in the Stettner Couloir.’
    • ‘This classic objective adds multipitch rock climbing and a thrilling 150-foot rappel to your bag of tricks.’
    • ‘Canyoneering starts with a mountain hike followed by a rappel alongside breathtaking waterfalls that drop anywhere from 12 to 120 feet.’
    • ‘Ed managed to get in an anchor, and was able to arrange a rappel back to the ground.’
    • ‘If we are descending the Grand Teton and I am setting the anchor for the 120-foot rappel into the Upper Saddle, I have an obligation to form such beliefs as this anchor point is solid only after careful scrutiny and testing.’
    • ‘Here the group assesses the rappel down the waterfall.’
    • ‘Every rappel, every belay, was made off just one anchor.’
    • ‘Rick and Derek rapped down to the ledge, pulled the ropes, set up the next rappel, and started down again.’
    • ‘Team Fred had just finished the rappel at Bridal Veil Falls.’
    • ‘It was a nice rappel, the redirect caused no problems going down, and there was only light spray near bottom thanks to the redirect and low water levels.’
    • ‘Archie describes the rappel itself as ‘fabulous from beginning to end,’ but he admits to some healthy trepidation.’
    • ‘The really strange thing is that on the way up I had collected the gear that Iron Mike and I had placed for our rappels back in 1993!’
    • ‘Despite losing her shoe, Katie Long, 11, rappels down a vertical 50-foot wall.’
    • ‘Then I set up my rappel and checked everything again.’
    • ‘With suspended walkways and observation platforms high in the treetops, and rappels down some of the biggest, tallest trees in the world, the views are breathtaking.’
    • ‘With a nod from an instructor, I began the rappel down the ground floor 210 feet below.’
    • ‘During the course troops are trained in advanced communications, Morse code, adjusting both naval gunfire and artillery, forward air control techniques, and helicopter operations, including helicopter rappels.’
    • ‘Amy, Matt, and Tom each completed their rappel and two climbs.’
    • ‘Far off to one side of the great cliff, we were arranging the short rappels back to the ground via the standard East Ledges descent route.’
    • ‘We'll rope up as needed for belayed climbing and rappels.’


1930s: from French, literally a recalling from rappeler in the sense bring back to oneself (with reference to the rope maneuver).