Origin of ramp

1350–1400; (v.) Middle English rampen < Old French ramper to creep, crawl, climb; (noun) < French rampe, derivative of ramper
Related formsramp·ing·ly, adverbun·ramped, adjective



noun Usually ramps.

a wild onion, Allium tricoccum, of the amaryllis family, of eastern North America, having flat leaves and rounded clusters of whitish flowers; eaten raw or used as a flavoring in cooked foods.

Origin of ramp

1530–40; back formation from ramps ramson, variant (with intrusive p) of rams, earlier rammys, orig. the singular of ramson
Also called wild leek.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for ramp

slope, adit, grade, rise, access, gradient, hill, inclination

Examples from the Web for ramp

Contemporary Examples of ramp

Historical Examples of ramp

  • Pieter Heemskerk stood by the ramp to the stubby G-boat and checked his watch.


    Charles Louis Fontenay

  • In two minutes, it would be time for him to walk up the ramp into the G-boat.


    Charles Louis Fontenay

  • The station was completely empty as Ravdin walked down the ramp to the shuttles.

    The Link

    Alan Edward Nourse

  • He shot him and ran up the ramp as the officer's body rolled down it.

    Space Prison

    Tom Godwin

  • When he saw the ramp running from the ship to the ground, he was dismayed.

    The Stutterer

    R.R. Merliss

British Dictionary definitions for ramp



a sloping floor, path, etc, that joins two surfaces at different levels
a movable stairway by which passengers enter and leave an aircraft
the act of ramping
British slang a swindle, esp one involving exorbitant prices
another name for sleeping policeman


(intr ; often foll by about or around) (esp of animals) to rush around in a wild excited manner
to act in a violent or threatening manner, as when angry (esp in the phrase ramp and rage)
(tr) finance to buy (a security) in the market with the object of raising its price and enhancing the image of the company behind it for financial gain
See also ramp down, ramp up

Word Origin for ramp

C18 (n): from C13 rampe, from Old French ramper to crawl or rear, probably of Germanic origin; compare Middle Low German ramp cramp
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

Word Origin and History for ramp

1778, "slope," from French rampe, back-formation from Old French verb ramper "to climb, scale, mount;" see ramp (v.). Meaning "road on or off a major highway" is from 1952, American English.


"rude, boisterous girl or woman," mid-15c., perhaps from ramp (v.). Cf. romp in Johnson's Dictionary (1755): "a rude, awkward, boisterous, untaught girl."


c.1300, "to climb; to stand on the hind legs" (of animals), from Old French ramper "to climb, scale, mount" (12c., in Modern French "to creep, crawl"), perhaps from Frankish *rampon "to contract oneself" (cf. Old High German rimpfan "to wrinkle," Old English hrimpan "to fold, wrinkle"), via notion of the bodily contraction involved in climbing [Klein], from Proto-Germanic *hrimp- "to contract oneself." Related: Ramped; ramping.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper