SKIP TO CONTENT

ladder

If your ball lands on the roof, grab a ladder and climb up and get it. A ladder has steps you use to reach up high. If you climb the corporate ladder, you’re moving up in the business world.

Some ladders are just a few feet tall, and others are taller than a house. Still others are invisible –- any time you move up in your career as a banker or NFL football player, you climb the ladder. In British English, a ladder is a run in stockings, which is funny because it usually looks like one. The superstition that it's bad luck to walk under an open ladder dates from the eighteenth century.

Definitions of ladder
  1. noun
    steps consisting of two parallel members connected by rungs; for climbing up or down
    see moresee less
    types:
    show 10 types...
    hide 10 types...
    articulated ladder
    a ladder consisting of segments (usually four) that are held together by joints that can lock in place
    extension ladder
    a ladder whose length can be extended
    Jacob's ladder, jack ladder, pilot ladder
    (nautical) a hanging ladder of ropes or chains supporting wooden or metal rungs or steps
    monkey ladder
    a light ladder to the monkey bridge on a ship
    rope ladder
    a ladder with side pieces of rope
    scaling ladder
    a ladder used to scale walls (as in an attack)
    sea ladder, sea steps
    (nautical) ladder to be lowered over a ship's side for coming aboard
    step ladder, stepladder
    a folding portable ladder hinged at the top
    accommodation ladder
    (nautical) a portable ladder hung over the side of a vessel to give access to small boats alongside
    aerial ladder
    mechanically extendible ladder; used on a fire truck
    type of:
    stairs, steps
    a flight of stairs or a flight of steps
  2. noun
    ascending stages by which somebody or something can progress
    “he climbed the career ladder
    see moresee less
    type of:
    degree, level, point, stage
    a specific identifiable position in a continuum or series or especially in a process
  3. noun
    a row of unravelled stitches
    synonyms: ravel, run
    see moresee less
    type of:
    damage, harm, impairment
    the occurrence of a change for the worse
  4. verb
    come unraveled or undone as if by snagging
    synonyms: run
    run, unravel
    become undone
    see moresee less
    type of:
    break, come apart, fall apart, separate, split up
    become separated into pieces or fragments
Word Family
EDITOR’S CHOICE

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.

SAT/PSAT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

TOEFL

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

ACT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week