ladder

noun, often attributive
lad·​der | \ ˈla-dər How to pronounce ladder (audio) \

Definition of ladder

1 : a structure for climbing up or down that consists essentially of two long sidepieces joined at intervals by crosspieces on which one may step
2 : something that resembles or suggests a ladder in form or use especially : run sense 11a
3 : a series of usually ascending steps or stages : scale climbing up the corporate ladder

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from ladder

ladderlike \ ˈla-​dər-​ˌlīk How to pronounce ladderlike (audio) \ adjective

Examples of ladder in a Sentence

He was moving up the corporate ladder. She worked her way up from the lowest rung on the economic ladder. She got a ladder in her stocking.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

The French knight Jean de Maingre, for example, could climb up the underside of a ladder using only his hands while in full armor. David Hambling, Popular Mechanics, "The Overloaded Soldier: Why U.S. Infantry Now Carry More Weight Than Ever," 26 Dec. 2018 In the office hierarchy, Step 9 was near the top of the compensation ladder some $17,000 more than her Step 1 starting salary of $62,133. Lindsey Byrnes, Harper's BAZAAR, "Inside Aileen Rizo's Fight For Equal Pay," 24 July 2018 Furthermore, Asians and whites earn more than blacks and Hispanics at all levels of the income ladder. David Carrig, USA TODAY, "Study: Asians displace blacks as most economically divided group," 12 July 2018 Finn Balor hit the Coup de Grace off the top of the ladder. Aaron Oster, baltimoresun.com, "Braun Strowman becomes 'Monster in the Bank'," 18 June 2018 Men and pieces of ladder tumbled to the ground; some of the pallbearers scurried onto the tower. Cleve R. Wootson Jr., Washington Post, "A man was crushed to death beneath his mother’s coffin," 18 June 2018 This part of the valley is called One Hundred Palms, and the palmeros will go up one hundred feet of ladder with the paper bags, in one-hundred degree weather. James Fallows, The Atlantic, "The Other Coachella: What You Won't See at the Music Festival," 15 Apr. 2018 The bad news: Your first step onto the corporate ladder could still be a tough one. Lauren Weber And Chip Cutter, WSJ, "A Wake-Up Call for Grads: Entry-Level Jobs Aren’t So Entry Level Any More," 10 May 2019 Firefighters arrived quickly but their ladders were not equipped to reach higher than the seventh floor. Marlena Scott, Teen Vogue, "Many Women Who Died in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire of 1911 Were Young Immigrants," 25 Mar. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ladder.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of ladder

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ladder

Middle English, from Old English hlǣder; akin to Old High German leitara ladder, Old English hlinian to lean — more at lean

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ladder

Statistics for ladder

Last Updated

8 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ladder

The first known use of ladder was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for ladder

ladder

noun

English Language Learners Definition of ladder

: a device used for climbing that has two long pieces of wood, metal, or rope with a series of steps or rungs between them
: a series of steps or stages by which someone moves up to a higher or better position
British : a long hole in a stocking

ladder

noun
lad·​der | \ ˈla-dər How to pronounce ladder (audio) \

Kids Definition of ladder

: a device used for climbing usually consisting of two long pieces of wood, rope, or metal joined at short distances by horizontal pieces on which a person may step

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on ladder

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ladder

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ladder

Spanish Central: Translation of ladder

Nglish: Translation of ladder for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ladder for Arabic Speakers

Comments on ladder

What made you want to look up ladder? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

standardized text or formulaic language

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!