rap·​pel | \rə-ˈpel, 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

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 That factors into her desire to rappel for the Kidney Foundation. David Anderson, The Aegis, "'Electrifying!' Joppa woman rappels down tall building to raise money for Kidney Foundation," 8 June 2018 The bodies were eventually found and recovered by Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who rappelled into the base of the falls from a helicopter, then used an underwater camera to find the bodies. Wes Siler, Outside Online, "Doing It for the ‘Gram Turns Deadly," 9 July 2018 From a hovering helicopter, a sniper takes out an enemy combatant, and an elite U.S. Coast Guard counter terrorism team swings into action, rappelling to the deck and taking command of the ship. Carter Evans, CBS News, "Elite Coast Guard team training for potential chemical weapons attacks," 14 June 2018 Michael Araujo rappels from a 60-foot tower as trainees gain insight into the rigorous training that agents undergo. Brittny Mejia, latimes.com, "Many Latinos answer call of the Border Patrol in the age of Trump," 23 Apr. 2018 The girls face physical challenges such as climbing a 105-foot fire truck ladder to the sixth floor of the training tower, rappelling out a fifth-floor window, operating fire hoses and learning search and rescue techniques. John D. Simmons, charlotteobserver, "Can a camp ignite girls’ interest in becoming firefighters?," 21 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

15 Nov 2018

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

: 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

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by force of circumstances

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