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1the system of ropes, cables, or chains employed to support a ship’s masts ( standing rigging) and to control or set the yards and sails ( running rigging). the action of providing a sailing ship with rigging. 2the ropes and wires supporting the structure of an airship, biplane, hang glider, or parachute. the system of cables and fittings controlling the flight surfaces and engines of an aircraft. the action of assembling and adjusting rigging.