Definition of ladder in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈladər/


1A structure consisting of a series of bars or steps between two upright lengths of wood, metal, or rope, used for climbing up or down something.
Example sentences
  • You run around climbing ladders, shimmying across ropes and running from one platform to another, collecting gems while avoiding the bad guys.
  • Leaves in different parts of the canopy were accessed with ladders, climbing ropes, and a hydraulic lift, to facilitate photosynthetic measurements with hand-held instruments.
  • Entrance for the others by means of climbing ropes or ladders over the wall would be possible, but they needed a quick exit route, and hoped to be carrying Grenwald, bound and gagged as they left.
1.1A series of ascending stages by which someone or something may advance or progress: employees on their way up the career ladder
More example sentences
  • As she climbs the corporate ladder to the top, Kate also grows to love her gentleman caller.
  • They needed to prove that women were just as determined as men to ascend the corporate ladder.
  • Excluded from society, essentially cut out of her aunt's will, Lily descends the social ladder.
2British (In tights or stockings) a run.
Example sentences
  • She's a social climber with ladders in her stockings but a good heart.
  • In our house, a clear-out involves binning the odd pair of tights with more ladders than Bob The Builder, or removing a bunch of long-dead flowers from a vase.
  • They had to be mended by hand or taken to one of shops in the city where a young woman repaired ladders in silk stockings using a special stand and hook.


British (With reference to tights or stockings) develop or cause to develop a run.


Old English hlǣd(d)er, of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch leer and German Leiter.

Words that rhyme with ladder

adder, bladder, khaddar, madder

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: lad·der

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.