ratline

noun
rat·​line | \ ˈrat-lən How to pronounce ratline (audio) \

Definition of ratline

: any of the small transverse ropes attached to the shrouds of a ship so as to form the steps of a rope ladder usually used in plural

Illustration of ratline

Illustration of ratline

Examples of ratline in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web For women artists, substance use is generally grouped under the larger umbrella of madness, historically a kind of ratline to institutionalization, often against their will, for women ranging from Zelda Fitzgerald to Britney Spears. New York Times, 24 Mar. 2022

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

First Known Use of ratline

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ratline

Middle English radelyng

Learn More About ratline

Time Traveler for ratline

Time Traveler

The first known use of ratline was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near ratline

rat kangaroo

ratline

rat mole

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for ratline

Last Updated

26 Mar 2022

Cite this Entry

“Ratline.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ratline. Accessed 23 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on ratline

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about ratline

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!