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 As a hotshot, his job was to rappel from helicopters into wildfires across the country. Special To The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive.com, "Wildfire toll leaves communities struggling to recover," 14 Aug. 2019 Kids activities range from rappelling to skateboarding. Web Behrens, chicagotribune.com, "15 things to do with the kids July 8-14," 7 July 2019 After Victor’s team dug a well 100 feet deep and three feet in diameter, Victor rappelled down, heading backward in time. Colin Dickey, The New Republic, "The Secrets in Greenland’s Ice," 11 July 2019 Rescue teams rappelled down the side of the cliff and attempted to treat the unidentified victim at the scene, The Mercury News reported. The person was eventually transported to an area hospital. Fox News, "Driver miraculously survives 150-foot plunge off California cliff," 17 June 2019 In August, Sorkin and climbing partner Kate Rutherford helped a woman out of the Wind River Range in Wyoming after the woman’s partner died in a rappelling accident. Julie Ellison, Outside Online, "This New Fund Will Help Climbers Cope with Death," 8 Oct. 2017 Photos show protests rappelling off the bridge, as cars slowly drive bay. Michelle Iracheta, Houston Chronicle, "Greenpeace protesters climb Fred Hartman bridge ahead of Democratic debate," 12 Sep. 2019 Biden’s latest version of the story, according to the Post, has a Navy captain rappelling down a 60-foot ravine in the Kunar province of Afghanistan in an unsuccessful effort to retrieve a wounded comrade who dies. Savannah Behrmann, USA TODAY, "Biden denies conflating details of heroic war story after Washington Post report raises questions," 1 Aug. 2019 The Guard had previously released video of the incident showing Iranian commandos in black ski masks and fatigues rappelling from a helicopter onto the ship. Washington Post, "New video from Iran shows Guard warning away UK warship," 30 July 2019

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

18 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for rappel

The first known use of rappel was in 1944

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More Definitions for rappel


How to pronounce rappel (audio)

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).


a calculated move

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