[ lad-er ]
/ ˈlæd ər /


verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

Chiefly British. to get a run, as in a stocking.
to gain in popularity or importance: He laddered to the top of his profession.

Origin of ladder

before 1000; Middle English laddre, Old English hlǣder; cognate with German Leiter, Dutch leer (also ladder < Fris); akin to Gothic hleithra tent; orig., something that slopes. See lean1

Related forms

lad·der·less, adjectivelad·der·like, lad·der·y, adjective

Can be confused

ladder latter Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ladder

British Dictionary definitions for ladder


/ (ˈlædə) /


a portable framework of wood, metal, rope, etc, in the form of two long parallel members connected by several parallel rungs or steps fixed to them at right angles, for climbing up or down
any hierarchy conceived of as having a series of ascending stages, levels, etcthe social ladder
  1. anything resembling a ladder
  2. (as modifier)ladder stitch
Also called: run mainly British a line of connected stitches that have come undone in knitted material, esp stockings


mainly British to cause a line of interconnected stitches in (stockings, etc) to undo, as by snagging, or (of a stocking) to come undone in this way

Word Origin for ladder

Old English hlǣdder; related to Old High German leitara
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Idioms and Phrases with ladder


see bottom of the ladder.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.