Meaning of LADDER in English


I. lad ‧ der 1 S3 /ˈlædə $ -ər/ BrE AmE noun [countable]

[ Language: Old English ; Origin: hlæder ]

1 . a piece of equipment used for climbing up to or down from high places. A ladder has two bars that are connected by ↑ rung s (=short bars that you use as steps) :

She climbed up the ladder.

He hurt himself falling off a ladder.

⇨ ↑ rope ladder , ↑ stepladder

2 . a series of levels which someone moves up and down within an organization, profession, or society

career/corporate ladder

Stevens slowly worked his way up the corporate ladder.

Becoming a doctor would be a step up the social ladder.

the first step on the ladder of success

3 . British English a long thin hole in ↑ stocking s or ↑ tights where some stitches have broken SYN run American English :

Yes, I know I’ve got a ladder in my tights.

⇨ ↑ Snakes and Ladders

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■ verbs

▪ climb (up/down) a ladder

He climbed the ladder up to the diving platform.

▪ go up/down a ladder

Be careful going down the ladder!

▪ come up/down a ladder

Dickson came up the ladder from the engine room.

▪ descend a ladder formal (=climb down)

He closed the hatch and descended the ladder.

▪ fall off a ladder

One of the builders fell off a ladder and broke his leg.

■ phrases

▪ a rung of a ladder (=the part you put your foot on)

The first rung of the ladder was broken.

▪ a step of a ladder (=the part you put your foot on)

The can of paint was balanced on one of the steps of the ladder.

▪ the foot of a ladder (=the bottom of a ladder)

Zach waited at the foot of the ladder while Sam climbed up.

▪ the bottom/top of a ladder

She sighed with relief when she reached the bottom of the ladder.

II. ladder 2 BrE AmE verb [intransitive and transitive]

British English if ↑ stocking s or ↑ tights ladder, or if you ladder them, a long thin hole is made in them because some stitches have broken SYN run American English

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▪ tear to damage paper or cloth by pulling it too hard, or letting it touch something sharp:

She unwrapped the present carefully, trying not to tear the paper.


I tore a hole in my jacket, climbing over the fence.

▪ rip to tear something quickly or violently:

Beth excitedly ripped open the package.


Stop pulling my dress! You’ll rip it!

▪ split to tear your trousers or shirt when you put them on, because they are too tight for you:

He bent down and split his trousers.


Oh no, now I’ve split my shirt.

▪ ladder British English if a woman ladders her ↑ tights or STOCKINGS , she tears them so that a long thin line appears in them:

Damn! I’ve laddered my tights!

▪ snag to catch a piece of clothing on something rough or sharp so that it tears slightly:

I snagged my shirt on a nail.

▪ shred to deliberately destroy letters, documents etc by cutting them into thin pieces, often by using a special machine:

In order to prevent fraud, it’s best to shred your bank statements.


I went through all my papers shredding things I didn’t need.

▪ frayed torn a little along the edges – used about clothes, carpets etc that have been used a lot:

He was wearing an old pair of frayed jeans.


The rug was a little frayed around the edges.


The jacket was a little frayed at the cuffs.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.