Definition of rope in US English:



  • 1A length of strong cord made by twisting together strands of natural fibers such as hemp or artificial fibers such as polypropylene.

    • ‘She nodded, and tiptoed to pull a length of thick rope from the back of the cart.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He stood up with about a two-foot length of hefty hemp rope in his hands.’
    • ‘He had noticed that the thick sisal rope which had snapped had been cut halfway through with a sharp instrument, probably a knife.’
    • ‘They were linked by a great length of rope modestly coiled at both ends of the row.’
    • ‘It was being pulleyed by several cords of thick rope overhead.’
    • ‘My eyes came to rest on a long strand of thick hemp rope, slightly frazzled but still in one piece.’
    • ‘The fibers are twisted into ropes and sprayed with natural latex, which increases their elasticity.’
    • ‘I tried to move my limbs only to find them restrained by what felt like thick strands of rope.’
    • ‘Together, with Steve hauling on the rope and him climbing, he made it to the top of the cliff.’
    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.
      • ‘Hw walked down to the ring and bounced back and forth off the ropes.’
      • ‘The announcer's voice came back into perspective with Dice as he sprinted into the ring, sliding under the ropes.’
  • 2A quantity of roughly spherical objects such as onions or pearls strung together.

    ‘a rope of pearls’
    • ‘He wore a rope of shining rubies around his neck and had a gold ring dangling from his right ear.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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’
    ‘new boys were expected to learn the ropes from the old hands’
    • ‘They are the pioneers; no one has come before them to show them the ropes.’
    • ‘He wants me to continue my studies there and learn the ropes of our business.’
    • ‘Expectedly, he began to learn the ropes of movies and worked on screenplays.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He was supposed to show me the ropes and introduce me to the work over a period of six months.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘That's because mentors show you the ropes - those that are tangible and intangible.’
    • ‘This is your chance to learn the ropes - remember that flexibility is the key.’
    • ‘Often fresh out of school, they take low-paying jobs at small independent firms to learn the ropes.’
    • ‘What I did was hang around studios and get 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘You're going to have to learn the ropes and put in the time.’
    • ‘In the year out, get work experience in a buying office and learn the ropes.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Michael was, in fact, an ideal candidate for one of the new middle-manager positions, but first he had to learn the ropes.’
    • ‘A good staff is the institutional memory of your business; an important resource as you learn the ropes.’
    • ‘Do as many student films as you can - learn the ropes here.’
    • ‘I hope you welcome her completely and show her the ropes around here.’
    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
    View synonyms


[with object]
  • 1Catch, fasten, or secure with rope.

    ‘the calves must be roped and led out of the stockade’
    ‘the climbers were all roped together’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Ships were roped together in lines to face an enemy fleet and showers of arrows and missiles would have been exchanged.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Tyler roped the object on the roof on his first try.’
    • ‘They rope his hand and attach the other end to a door bolt and leave the poor dolt there.’
    • ‘They were roped together and a warder supervising them walked up and down with a rifle.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘With a cord I always carried in my pocket just for such an occasion, I started to rope his hands together.’
    • ‘She swung it lazily and with ease, and roped the wild mustang.’
    • ‘Gracie will have her wearing trousers and roping cattle before they go home.’
    tie, bind, lash, truss, pinion
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1rope someone in/into Persuade someone to take part in (an activity)
      ‘anyone who could play an instrument or sing in tune was roped in’
      • ‘Seriosuly, I need to be funnier, and so it would be good if i could rope you in as a nemesis/comedic foil.’
      • ‘‘I want to start my own lodge’ he says, ready to rope me in as a business partner with whatever I can offer.’
      • ‘Damian laughed, ‘I roped him in to help me with the video.’’
      • ‘He grinned knowing that they had finally roped Ashton into doing the dare.’
      • ‘This whole business was one big scam to rope me in, you never planned to keep your part of the bargain.’
      • ‘Liza looked none too pleased to have been roped into this either.’
      • ‘Even when he ran up to her, she managed to avoid talking with him by roping Clark Durand into a dance.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘For the first time, acrobats from Russia have been roped in to ensure there is greater excitement.’
      • ‘She roped you in and now you have no choice but to follow her lead.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘What according to you prompted the producers to rope you in as the anchor?’
      • ‘The shrimp in their shells may have too much salt for me sometimes, but their general dewiness and cayenne kick rope me in nonetheless.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They all started building sand castles and dams and things and they roped Jimmy and me into it.’
      • ‘And while I verged on breaking down, I was roped into, very much against my will, a scheme to entrap Alison's husband.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I can't believe some of the things mom ropes me into.’
      persuade into, persuade to, talk into, inveigle into
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2rope something off Enclose or separate an area with a rope or tape.
      ‘police roped off the area of the find’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘You can wander through the various rooms, but most of it is roped off.’
      • ‘Seems there was yet another bloody ethnic festival on and the street was roped off to traffic.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The area around the tree is roped off and reserved for those with special tickets.’
      • ‘Walking in the rain because the escalators down to the dangerously overcrowded platforms have been roped off for safety.’
      • ‘Parking for staff and visitors, already tight, has been diminished as the entire lot has been roped off for visitors to stand in.’
      • ‘Yesterday the memorial was roped off, and a wreath had been placed beside it.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘When the speed trials were run, the course was roped off and 100 policemen were posted along the course.’
      • ‘The entire scene was roped off, and exasperated policemen were shooing annoying news reporters away from the building.’
      • ‘And there was a roped off public viewing area off to our left.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Select a site on concrete or gravel, rope the site off and display signs warning of hot containers.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A small area was roped off for all of the royal families.’
      • ‘Instead, the crowds are roped off into sections, and each section is populated by an allowable number of people.’
    3. 1.3Climbing no object (of a party of climbers) connect each other together with a rope.
      ‘we stopped at the foot of the Cavales Ridge and roped up’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Halfway up we became lost in a labyrinth of widemouthed crevasses and leaning seracs, and had to rope up and slow down.’
      • ‘You could rope up and go ice climbing on the Kennicott or Root glaciers, or hike across the tundra to an alpine lake.’
      • ‘Today the team roped up and headed up for a tour of the upper Khumbu Glacier.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The face grew increasingly steep, and we roped up at the base of a vertical crack.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Set your alarm for midnight and try to catch a couple of winks before roping up and entering the world of technical glacier travel.’
      • ‘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.’
    4. 1.4rope down/upClimbing no object Climb down or up using a rope.
      ‘the party had been roping down a hanging glacier’
      • ‘So, once again we roped up and got ready to climb.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’


  • 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.

  • 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.

      • ‘He is moving better and not laying on the ropes at all.’
      • ‘It's the first round and Jackie's been on the ropes twice.’
      • ‘Bogie came out swinging, trying to put Dino on the ropes and Dino responds with a flurry of his own.’
      1. 1.1In state of near collapse or defeat.
        ‘behind the apparent success the company was on the ropes’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘With consumer prices on the ropes, bargains abound at the grocery.’
        • ‘The US is on the ropes because investment is collapsing, profits are imploding and share prices cascading.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘This was Ed on the ropes, and we were beginning to feel sorry for him.’
        • ‘Agriculture Canada claims it has the U.S. on the ropes.’
        • ‘With PC sales and corporate investment in a slump, we know they're on the ropes and in deep denial.’


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