noun (1)
\ ˈramp How to pronounce ramp (audio) \

Definition of ramp

 (Entry 1 of 5)

1 : a sloping way or plane: such as
a : a sloping floor, walk, or roadway leading from one level to another
b : a slope for launching boats


verb (1)
ramped; ramping; ramps

Definition of ramp (Entry 2 of 5)

intransitive verb

: to speed up, expand, or increase especially quickly or at a constant rate used with up ramping up to full speedThe backlash is a sign of tensions that could intensify as the governor ramps up for reelection next year.— Josh BurekThe raisin giant ramps up for Halloween by selling bags of 14 half-ounce raisin boxes.— Bruce HorovitzFurthermore, some of these heat processes must be "ramped up." That is, the heat must be gradually raised to the processing temperature …— George Lawton

transitive verb

: to increase, expand, or decrease especially quickly or at a constant rate usually used with up or down ramp up productionThe other parts of the plant that are going full-bore have to ramp down, too, in a carefully managed process.— Max Schulz… James Bay and Tori Kelly, two best new artist nominees, traded their songs on acoustic guitars, ramping up the vibrato.— Jon Pareles — see also ramp-up


noun (2)

Definition of ramp (Entry 3 of 5)

: any of various alliums used for food


verb (2)
ramped; ramping; ramps

Definition of ramp (Entry 4 of 5)

intransitive verb

1a : to stand or advance menacingly with forelegs or with arms raised
b : to move or act furiously
2 : to creep up used especially of plants


noun (3)
plural ramps

Definition of ramp (Entry 5 of 5)

old-fashioned + literary
: the act or an instance of ramping (see ramp entry 4) It is the ramp of the lion by the side of the … snarl of the cur.— Edmund Burke (figurative) … the whirr / Of the crickets is lost in the roar / And the ramp of the southern gale …— Hamlin Garland

First Known Use of ramp

Noun (1)

1705, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (1)

1980, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Noun (2)

1826, in the meaning defined above

Verb (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun (3)

1671, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ramp

Noun (1)

borrowed from French rampe, going back to Middle French, "inclined plane on which the steps of a staircase are built," noun derivative of ramper "to crawl, creep, move slowly along a surface," going back to Old French — more at ramp entry 4

Verb (1)

in part verbal derivative of ramp entry 4, implying upward or downward movement on a ramp, in part derivative of ramp "artificial stimulation of a situation, market, etc., for financial or political gain," probably derivative of 19th-century British slang ramp "to rob, swindle," of uncertain origin

Noun (2)

back-formation from ramps, alteration (by intrusive p) of rams "the wild garlic Allium ursinum," going back to Middle English ramese, rampses, ramzys, going back to Old English hramsa, hramse (masculine or feminine weak noun), going back to Germanic *hramusan- or *hramusjōn- (whence also Old Saxon ramusia "wild garlic," Middle Low German ramese, remese, regional German Rams) going back to dialectal Indo-European *ḱrom-us-, ablaut variant of a noun seen also in Middle Irish crem, crim "wild garlic," Welsh craf, cra (< Celtic *kremo-, kramo-?), Russian čeremšá, Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian srȉjemuš, srȉjemuša, also crȉjemuš, crȉjemuša, Lithuanian kermùšė, kermušė͂, beside šermùkšnis, šermùkšlė "mountain ash" (< *kerm-(o)us-i̯eh2, *ḱerm-(o)us-i̯eh2), Greek krómmyon, krémyon (Hesychius) "onion (Allium cepa) (< *ḱrom-us-o-/*ḱrem-us-o-)

Note: While Balto-Slavic has *ḱerm-, the other languages appear to have *ḱrVm- (or *ḱr̥m-?). The fluctuation between palatovelar and plain velar in Balto-Slavic has been explained as a result of an original *ḱrem-, with loss of palatal quality before r. The word is found only within European Indo-European, and regarded by some as a Wanderwort or borrowing from a substratal language.

Verb (2)

Middle English rampen, raumpen "to creep on the ground (of a snake or dragon), to spring up, rear up on the hind legs (of a lion or other large carnivore)," borrowed from Anglo-French ramper "to climb, rear up on the hind legs, creep" (also continental Old French), perhaps going back to a Germanic base *hramp- used in various expressive words, as Middle Dutch ramp "mishap, disaster," rampe "torticollis in birds," Middle Low German ramp "spasm, epilepsy, distress, disaster," Old English gehrumpen "wrinkled, coiled, contracted," Old High German rimpfan, preterit rampf "to shrivel, shrink"

Note: Though the Germanic origin of ramper is generally accepted (as by Französisches etymologisches Wörterbuch, Trésor de la langue française), the semantic connections are tenuous. Hypothetically akin to this verb is a noun *hrampa- meaning "hook, claw," whence Italian rampa "claw, talon," alongside Spanish, Catalan rampa "cramp, spasm." Suggested Indo-European comparisons (Lithuanian kremblỹs "chantarelle," Greek krámbos "clear, dry [of a sound]") are even more tenuous.

Noun (3)

derivative of ramp entry 1

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The first known use of ramp was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Ramp.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ramp. Accessed 20 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for ramp


\ ˈramp How to pronounce ramp (audio) \

Kids Definition of ramp

: a sloping passage or roadway connecting different levels a highway exit ramp

More from Merriam-Webster on ramp

Nglish: Translation of ramp for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ramp for Arabic Speakers


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