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A ladder (frame for ascent and descent).
Stockings with a ladder in them.

Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English laddere, laddre, from Old English hlǣder, from Proto-Germanic *hlaidrijō (compare Scots ledder, North Frisian ladder, Saterland Frisian Laadere, West Frisian ljedder, Dutch ladder, leer, German Leiter), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱleytro (compare Old Irish clithar 'hedge', Umbrian [script needed] (kletram) 'stretcher'), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱley- (to lean). More at lean, related to lid.



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. (figuratively) The hierarchy or ranking system within an organization, e.g. the corporate ladder.
    • 2011 January 8, Paul Fletcher, “Stevenage 3 - 1 Newcastle”, BBC:
      Newcastle had won both their previous fixtures in 2011 but were terribly disappointing at Broadhall Way against opponents 73 places below them in the footballing ladder.
  3. (chiefly UK) A length of unravelled fabric in a knitted garment, especially in nylon stockings; a run.
  4. 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[edit]

  • For stockings touted as resistant to ladders, 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[edit]



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

  1. (firefighting) To ascend a building or wall using a ladder.
    • 1998, John Norman, Fire Officer's Handbook of Tactics,[1] ISBN 0912212721, page 164,
      A good working knowledge of the ladder parts, how they work, their capacities, and proper usage are a must before anyone is sent out to ladder a building.
  2. (of a knitted garment) To develop a ladder as a result of a broken thread.




Hyphenation: lad‧der


ladder f, m (plural ladders, diminutive laddertje n)

  1. ladder

Derived terms[edit]

See also[edit]