Definition of climb in English:

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Pronunciation: /klʌɪm/


1 [with object] Go or come up a (slope or staircase); ascend: we began to climb the hill [no object]: the air became colder as they climbed higher he climbed up the steps slowly
More example sentences
  • The only way to reach the roof was by climbing the ladder that was inside the building itself, unless they climbed up the side.
  • Ewan climbed up the ladder quickly, used to doing so, as he'd been climbing the same ladder for over six years.
  • Red began to climb the staircase to the third tower of the east wing, known affectionately as the correlation wing, used mainly for social events, conferences and the like.
ascend, mount, scale, scramble up, clamber up, shin up;
go up, move up, walk up, make one's way up, swarm up;
North American  shinny (up)
1.1 [no object] (Of an aircraft or the sun) go upwards: we decided to climb to 6,000 feet
More example sentences
  • The sun climbs high and I decide to relax in the ‘Taj Garden Retreat’.
  • It is the nature of the place, as if the long shadows cast over the dale until the sun climbs over Tup Fell encourages hidden emotions and intrigues.
  • As the sun climbs higher into the sky, the buildings seem to glow and the black holes of their entrances deepen and become more mysterious.
rise, ascend, fly upwards, gain altitude
1.2 [no object] (Of a road or track) slope upwards: the track climbed steeply up a narrow, twisting valley
More example sentences
  • The break was a long gulley, and the road climbed precariously and steeply along its edge.
  • The bridleway climbs above the road and rejoins it further up at a gate.
  • The track climbs steeply towards the summit and lucky for us we had excellent weather and were able to see halfway across Tasmania from the top.
slope upwards, rise, go uphill, incline upwards
1.3(Of a plant) grow up (a wall, tree, or trellis) by clinging with tendrils or by twining: when ivy climbs a wall it infiltrates any crack [no object]: there were roses climbing up the walls
More example sentences
  • Vines and flowers climbed the trellis, turning our nook into a subtle and intriguing grotto.
  • I have a passion flower climbing a south-facing wall and it has flowered extremely well for several years.
  • For instant charm and color, frame a door or window with a vine climbing a string trellis.
1.4 [no object] Increase in scale, value, or power: deer numbers have been climbing steadily the stock market climbed 23.9 points
More example sentences
  • Since hitting the floor last year, its value has steadily climbed again in line with a general recovery in the sector.
  • Passenger-train performance began to climb, increasing steadily into the 1990s.
  • The company's shares had climbed steadily in value over the preceding two months to a historic high at the end of the year.
increase, rise, go up, mount, escalate, shoot up, leap up, soar, spiral, rocket
informal be hiked/jacked up, go through the roof/ceiling
1.5Move to a higher position in (a chart or table): the book climbed to number 18 on the New York Times bestseller list
More example sentences
  • The song also climbed the charts in North America and went on to become a worldwide hit for the duo.
  • We are still in the quarter finals of the Second Division Trophy but I want to see us climbing the table as well.
  • The CD features twelve tracks among them the popular Song of Love which is climbing the charts in the UK.
advance, work one's way up, rise, move up, progress, make progress, make strides, get ahead
2 [no object, with adverbial of direction] Move with effort, especially into or out of a confined space; clamber: Howard started to climb out of the front seat
More example sentences
  • He never touched her: until one night, piqued that he hadn't made a move, she climbed over the bolster herself.
  • The cranks on the deck were moved off quickly, while crew members climbed aboard the massive transit.
  • Space Tower Danny climbs onto Spain's tallest skyscraper, currently under construction in Barcelona.
clamber, scramble;
scrabble, claw one's way, crawl
2.1 (climb into) Put on (clothes): he climbed into his suit
More example sentences
  • But she might just as well be expressing her thrill at climbing into clothes a size smaller than before.
  • They all begin climbing into old style pressure suits, to add an extra safety factor above their life belts.
  • I have no memory of climbing into my space suit and double-checking all the seals before I must have vented the airlock.


1An ascent, especially of a mountain or hill, by climbing: this walk involves a long moorland climb figurative how old will these graduates be before they begin a long climb out of debt?
More example sentences
  • It's a long climb, a brutal ascent by any standard, but that severity is the mountain's saving grace.
  • The easy walk was a shorter version of Jim's walk, and both walks finished with the climb to Hoad Hill and the Barrow Monument.
  • After a while we began a gentle ascent of the Little Homer Saddle, the only climb in the whole walk.
ascent, clamber;
1.1A mountain, hill, or slope that is climbed: he was too full of alcohol to negotiate the climb safely
More example sentences
  • At the top of the grassy climb you will come across this monument.
  • This painting captures the height of the grassy climb, looking down over the white chalk cliffs to the water.
1.2A recognized route up a mountain or cliff: this may be the hardest rock climb in the world
More example sentences
  • From the lake we were able to see several sizable climbs in the broken rock circling the upper third of our target.
  • Along with the infamous Mont Ventoux, the climbs on the route today are the most feared monsters in France.
  • There are three fourth-category climbs on the route but these are unlikely to present any problems for the riders.
1.3An aircraft’s flight upwards: we levelled out from the climb at 600 feet [mass noun]: the rate of climb can be set by the pilot
More example sentences
  • Graham cleaned up the aircraft for single-engine climb and took the flight controls.
  • The take-off is flawless; a steep climb has the aircraft high by strip's end to avoid the possibility of ground-fire.
  • The lead aircraft coordinated a climb with the tower controller to hold over the airport at 2,500 feet.
1.4A rise or increase in value, rank, or power: an above-average climb in prices
More example sentences
  • We'll also see the value of the dollar climb in foreign markets.
  • Megalomania, in particular, often provides a strong motivation for the climb to centrality and power.
  • In 2002 the increase in wages was matched by the climb in the consumer price index of 30 percent.



be climbing the walls

informal Feel frustrated, helpless, and trapped: his job soon had him climbing the walls
More example sentences
  • It had been a mess and I was climbing the walls and was a little bit bitter.
  • These are very vulnerable children, they are not climbing the walls or anything like that, but they do need a lot of support.
  • ‘It was a wrench leaving Gilbert at first but I was climbing the walls at home, I was anxious to come back to work,’ said Deirdre.

have a mountain to climb

Be facing a very difficult task: we have a mountain to climb, but I am looking forward to the challenge
More example sentences
  • ‘Andrew has a mountain to climb, and he will be climbing it for the rest of his life,’ said Deborah.
  • We still have a mountain to climb to stop this happening but it is not insurmountable if there is democracy.
  • ‘I know I have a mountain to climb before reversing this error, but I know I have to start somewhere,’ he said.

Phrasal verbs

climb down

British Withdraw from a position taken up in argument or negotiation: he was forced to climb down over the central package in the bill
More example sentences
  • Diageo stuck to its guns for a while but climbed down after being overwhelmed by the strength of opposition.
  • The protest ended peacefully after about an hour when the activists climbed down.
  • Some in the City believe HSH, not Barclays, will eventually have to climb down.
back down, admit defeat, concede defeat, surrender, capitulate, yield, give in/up, give way, cave in, submit;
retreat, backtrack, back-pedal;
admit that one is wrong, retract one's words, eat one's words, eat humble pie;
do a U-turn, do an about-face, row back, shift one's ground, sing a different song, have second thoughts;
British  do an about-turn
North American informal eat crow



Pronunciation: /ˈklʌɪməb(ə)l/
Example sentences
  • It has, in the parlance of sport, been a steep learning curve for the Scottish squad, but one which is still climbable.
  • Elsie has climbed every mountain peak in the Lake District that is climbable.
  • When we look at a rock, building, large object, or even ridiculously small object, we first scope it out, noticing only its climbable features, and then we climb it.


Old English climban, of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch and German klimmen, also to clay and cleave2.

Words that rhyme with climb

begrime, Chaim, chime, clime, crime, dime, grime, half-time, I'm, lime, mime, mistime, part-time, prime, rhyme, rime, slime, sublime, sub-prime, thyme, time

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: climb

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