synonyms, antonyms, definitions, examples & translations of ladder in English

English Online Dictionary. What means ladder‎? What does ladder mean?


Alternative forms

  • ledder (dialectal)


From Middle English ladder, laddre, from Old English hlǣder, from Proto-West Germanic *hlaidriju, from Proto-Germanic *hlaidrijō, from Proto-Indo-European *ḱlóydʰrom, from *ḱley- (to lean).

Compare Scots ledder, North Frisian ladder, Saterland Frisian Laadere, West Frisian ljedder, Dutch ladder, leer, German Leiter); also Old Irish clithar (hedge), Umbrian 𐌊𐌋𐌄𐌈𐌓𐌀𐌌 (kleθram, stretcher)). See lean, which is related to lid.


  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈladə/
  • (General American) IPA(key): /ˈlædɚ/, [ˈlæɾɚ]
    • Homophone: latter (in accents with flapping)
  • Rhymes: -ædə(ɹ)
  • Hyphenation: lad‧der


ladder (plural ladders)

  1. A frame, usually portable, of wood, metal, or rope, used for ascent and descent, consisting of two side pieces to which are fastened rungs (cross strips or rounds acting as steps).
  2. (figurative) A series of stages by which one progresses to a better position.
  3. (figurative) The hierarchy or ranking system within an organization, such as the corporate ladder.
  4. (chiefly Britain) A length of unravelled fabric in a knitted garment, especially in nylon stockings; a run.
  5. In the game of go, a sequence of moves following a zigzag pattern and ultimately leading to the capture of the attacked stones.

Usage notes

For stockings touted as resistant to ladders (unraveling), the phrase “ladder resist” is used in the UK. The American equivalent is “run resistant”.


  • (frame for ascent and descent): stepladder
  • (unravelled fabric): run (primarily US)

Derived terms



ladder (third-person singular simple present ladders, present participle laddering, simple past and past participle laddered)

  1. To arrange or form into a shape of a ladder.
  2. (chiefly firefighting) To ascend (a building, a wall, etc.) using a ladder.
  3. Of a knitted garment: to develop a ladder as a result of a broken thread.
    • 1993, Sebastian Faulks, Birdsong, London: Hutchinson, ISBN 978-0-09-177373-1; republished as Birdsong: A Novel of Love and War, New York, N.Y.: Vintage Books, June 1997, ISBN 978-0-679-77681-9, page 254:
      He slid his hand up her skirt and murmured in her ear. / "Robert, I've just got dressed. Stop it." [] / He laddered her stocking and smudged her lipstick, but she had time to repair the damage before they went out.
  4. (UK, naval slang) To close in on a target with successive salvos, increasing or decreasing the shot range as necessary.
  5. (UK, law enforcement, of a police officer) To corruptly coerce a convicted offender to admit to offences to be taken into consideration which they do not actually believe they committed, as a way to artificially increase the rate of solved crimes.


  • Aldred, larded, raddle


Alternative forms

  • leeder (obsolete)
  • leer (dialectal, dated)


From Middle Dutch ladere, from Old Frisian hladder, hledder, hleder, hlērde, from Proto-West Germanic *hlaidriju, from Proto-Germanic *hlaidrijō.


  • IPA(key): /ˈlɑ.dər/
  • Hyphenation: lad‧der
  • Rhymes: -ɑdər


ladder f (plural ladders, diminutive laddertje n)

  1. A ladder.
  2. (clothing) A ladder, a run (length of unravelled fabric).


  • sport

Derived terms

  • toonladder
  • touwladder


  • Afrikaans: leer
    • Sotho: lere
    • Xhosa: ileli

Middle English



  1. Alternative form of laddre

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This article based on an article on Wiktionary. The list of authors can be seen in the page history there. The original work has been modified. This article is distributed under the terms of this license.