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rip cord

a cord on a parachute that, when pulled, opens the parachute for descent.
a cord fastened in the bag of a passenger balloon or dirigible so that a sharp pull upon it will rip or open the bag and let the gas escape, causing the balloon to descend rapidly.
Origin of rip cord
First recorded in 1905-10 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for rip cord
Historical Examples
  • As he went down into the cool night he slid his hand to the rip cord.

    A Yankee Flier in Italy Rutherford G. Montgomery
  • When he had waited long enough, he started to pull his rip cord to open his chute, but discovered both hands already engaged.

    Test Pilot David Goodger (
  • Upon leaving this balloon, the aeronauts had pulled the "rip cord," "turning it inside out."

    The Book of the Damned Charles Fort
  • "So I did pull my rip cord ring," Dawson breathed, as memory of those weird crazy moments between life and death came back to him.

    Dave Dawson at Truk Robert Sydney Bowen
  • That being the case, the sooner he pulled the rip cord on the second chute, the better off he would be.

    Bill Bruce on Forest Patrol

    Henry Harley Arnold

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