Definition of ratlines in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈratlɪnz/

plural noun

Image of ratlines
A series of small rope lines fastened across a sailing ship’s shrouds like the rungs of a ladder, used for climbing the rigging: I scrambled back down the ratlines
More example sentences
  • The product of a seafaring family, Seal is at home among the rigging, the ratlines, the shrouds and spars of his leading lady.
  • Pamela watched the men climbing the ratlines, standing on the yards, or in the footropes.
  • In the fresh wind the vibration of the shrouds as fifty men ran up the ratlines could be distinctly heard.


Late Middle English: of unknown origin.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: rat|lines

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