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

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Other Words from rappel

rappel noun

Examples of rappel in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

For those who aren’t so keen to rappel down the walls of a centuries-old castle, there are other opportunities to get involved. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Calling All Green Thumbs! A Legendary British Island Is Looking to Hire a Resident Gardener," 5 June 2019 The rescuers pulled off a challenging, albeit successful high-angle rescue, rappelling down to the man and lifting him from the narrow ledge using ropes and a stokes litter. Andrew Daniels, Popular Mechanics, "Turns Out You Can Fall 70 Feet Into Kīlauea Volcano and Survive," 3 May 2019 Rebecca had moved out years earlier, managing an apartment building for work while kayaking and rappelling for fun, with a snorting laugh that itself made her snort with laughter. Heather Gillers, WSJ, "‘I Was Hoping to Be Retired’: The Cost of Supporting Parents and Adult Children," 16 Nov. 2018 By morning rush hour, seven had rappelled down far enough to form an aerial blockade, successfully disrupting tanker transport of tar sands oil from the Burrard Inlet likely headed to Asian markets. Maia Wikler, Teen Vogue, "12 Activists Blocked an Oil Tanker Transporting From the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline in Canada," 6 Sep. 2018 Because of the darkness and other adverse conditions, the firefighters couldn't rappel down the cliff to rescue the hikers, who weren't hurt, just trapped, fire officials said. CBS News, "3 hikers stranded overnight are rescued by helicopter from California beach cliff," 16 June 2018 Marc sometimes rappels down to provide supplemental lighting if the couple is backlit by the rising sun. Janine Puhak, Fox News, "New Hampshire wedding photographers capture couples at stunning heights," 18 Aug. 2018 Pura Vida Adventures offers canyoneering trips that include rappelling down waterfalls, some as high as 75 feet (23 meters). Hillary Speed, chicagotribune.com, "In Western North Carolina: Do go chasing waterfalls," 26 June 2018 The crowd below cheered as Banks reached the top, let go, and gracefully rappelled down. Pat Nabong, Chicago Reader, "LGBTQ+ / Photography / Sports Drag queens find unlikely spot to perform—on a 50-foot climbing wall," 11 June 2018

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.

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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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Statistics for rappel

Last Updated

14 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for rappel

The first known use of rappel was in 1944

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More Definitions for rappel



English Language Learners Definition of rappel

US : to move down a steep cliff, rock, etc., by pushing your feet against its surface and sliding down a rope


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

More from Merriam-Webster on rappel

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with rappel

Comments on rappel

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


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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