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[lad-er] /ˈlæd ər/

a structure of wood, metal, or rope, commonly consisting of two sidepieces between which a series of bars or rungs are set at suitable distances, forming a means of climbing up or down.
something resembling this.
a means of rising, as to eminence:
the ladder of success.
a graded series of stages or levels in status; a hierarchical order of position or rank:
high on the political ladder.
Nautical. (def 1).
Chiefly British. a run in a stocking.
verb (used with object)
to climb or mount by means of a ladder:
to ladder a wall.
to furnish with a ladder:
to ladder a water tower.
Chiefly British. to cause a run in (a stocking).
verb (used without object)
Chiefly British. to get a run, as in a stocking.
to gain in popularity or importance:
He laddered to the top of his profession.
a portable framework of wood, metal, rope, etc, in the form of two long parallel members connected by several parallel rungs or steps fixed to them at right angles, for climbing up or down
any hierarchy conceived of as having a series of ascending stages, levels, etc: the social ladder

(mainly Brit) Also called run. a line of connected stitches that have come undone in knitted material, esp stockings
See ladder tournament
(mainly Brit) to cause a line of interconnected stitches in (stockings, etc) to undo, as by snagging, or (of a stocking) to come undone in this way

Old English hlæder “ladder, steps,” from Proto-Germanic *khlaidri (cf. Old Frisian hledere, Middle Dutch ledere, Old High German leitara, German Leiter), from PIE root *klei- “to lean” (cf. Greek klimax “ladder;” see lean (v.)). In late Old English, rungs were læddrestæfæ and the side pieces were ledder steles. The belief that walking under one brings bad luck is attested from 1787, but its origin likely is more pragmatic than symbolic. Ladder-back (adj.) as a type of chair is from 1898.

occurs only once, in the account of Jacob’s vision (Gen. 28:12).

see: bottom of the ladder


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  • Ladderman

    [lad-er-muh n, -man] /ˈlæd ər mən, -ˌmæn/ noun, plural laddermen [lad-er-muh n, -men] /ˈlæd ər mən, -ˌmɛn/ (Show IPA) 1. a firefighter who is a member of a hook-and-ladder company.

  • Ladder-polymer

    noun, Chemistry. 1. a polymer, as DNA, consisting of double-stranded chains linked by hydrogen bonds or chemical bonds at regular intervals.

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    ladder splint lad·der splint (lād’ər) n. A flexible splint consisting of two stout parallel wires with finer cross wires.

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