ratline

noun

rat·​line ˈrat-lən How to pronounce ratline (audio)
: 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 Barofsky claims that the bank did not fully investigate links to Nazi supporters or the possibility that the bank may have financed escape routes used by Nazis, known as ratlines, to flee to other countries after the war. Nicole Goodkind, CNN, 18 Apr. 2023 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 examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ratline.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Middle English radelyng

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near ratline

Cite this Entry

“Ratline.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ratline. Accessed 29 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

ratline

noun
rat·​line ˈrat-lən How to pronounce ratline (audio)
: any of the small cross ropes attached to the shrouds of a ship so as to form the steps of a rope ladder

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