rap·​pel | \ rə-ˈpel How to pronounce rappel (audio) , ra- \
rappelled also rappeled; rappelling also rappeling

Definition of rappel

intransitive verb

: to descend (as from a cliff) by sliding down a rope passed under one thigh, across the body, and over the opposite shoulder or through a special friction device

Other Words from rappel

rappel noun

Examples of rappel in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The discovery didn’t shock a team of speleologists (who study caves) and spelunkers (who rappel into them for fun) exploring the sinkhole. Manasee Wagh, Popular Mechanics, 13 May 2022 Her fondest memory of teaching dates from this period and involves a spider, of all things, which would rappel from the ceiling during class, always out of reach. Stephen Noonoo, The New Republic, 2 May 2022 Miraculously, the eaglet survived through the night outside of its nest, which gave Sharpe and his team the opportunity to rappel down the side of the rock, place the eaglet in a gym bag and hoist it back up to its nest. Nicholas Kerr, ABC News, 26 Apr. 2022 Firefighters set up a rope system to rappel down to Baccellieri and launched a water rescue unit, according to a Facebook post from the Rochester Fire Department. Stephanie Wenger, PEOPLE.com, 20 Apr. 2022 Five MRA field members were able to rappel down to the hikers from the helicopter, and then raise them back up to the trail to hike out. The Editors, Outside Online, 5 Nov. 2014 First responders used ropes to rappel down to get to the victims, Fire Chief Darryl Jones said. Athena Jones, CNN, 29 Jan. 2022 The Associated Press reported Friday rescuers had to rappel nearly 150 feet and formed a human chain to retrieve people who were left on the bus. Rick Rouan, USA TODAY, 28 Jan. 2022 Slavens and Smith then found a water hose used for air-conditioning maintenance and used it to rappel down the north side of the facility, according to the release. Thomas Saccente, Arkansas Online, 28 Dec. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of rappel

1944, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for rappel

French, literally, recall, from Old French rapel, from rapeler to recall, from re- + apeler to appeal, call — more at appeal

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Last Updated

15 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Rappel.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rappel. Accessed 25 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for rappel


rap·​pel | \ rə-ˈpel, ra- \
rappelled; rappelling

Kids Definition of rappel

: to move down a steep slope (as a cliff) by pushing the feet against its surface and sliding down a rope


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