[ rohp ]
See synonyms for: roperopedropesroping on

  1. a strong, thick line or cord, commonly one composed of twisted or braided strands of hemp, flax, or the like, or of wire or other material.

  2. a lasso.

  1. ropes,

    • the cords used to enclose a prize ring or other space.

    • Informal. the operations of a business or the details of any undertaking: The new employee didn't take long to learn the ropes.

  2. a hangman's noose, halter, or cord.

  3. the sentence or punishment of death by hanging.

  4. a quantity of material or a number of things twisted or strung together in the form of a cord: a rope of tobacco.

  5. a stringy, viscid, or glutinous formation in a liquid: ropes of slime.

verb (used with object),roped, rop·ing.
  1. to tie, bind, or fasten with a rope.

  2. to enclose, partition, or mark off with a rope or ropes (often followed by off).

  1. to catch with a lasso; lasso.

  2. Nautical. to reinforce (a sail or awning) with a boltrope.

verb (used without object),roped, rop·ing.
  1. to be drawn out into a filament of thread; become ropy.

Verb Phrases
  1. rope in, Informal. to lure or entice, especially by employing deception: The swindler had roped in a number of gullible persons.

Idioms about rope

  1. at the end of one's rope, at the end of one's endurance or means; at the limit: With all her savings gone and bills piling up, she was at the end of her rope.

  2. give someone enough rope, to allow a person complete freedom to continue their misdeeds in hope that retribution will follow.

  1. on the ropes,

    • Boxing. in a defenseless position, as leaning against the ropes to keep from falling.

    • Informal. in a desperate or hopeless position; close to defeat or failure: By repeatedly undercutting his prices, his competitors soon had him on the ropes.

Origin of rope

First recorded before 900; Middle English noun rop(e), rap(e), Old English rāp; cognate with Dutch reep, German Reif; verb derivative of the noun

Other words from rope

  • roper, noun
  • ropelike, adjective
  • un·roped, adjective

Words Nearby rope Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use rope in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for rope


/ (rəʊp) /

    • a fairly thick cord made of twisted and intertwined hemp or other fibres or of wire or other strong material

    • (as modifier): a rope bridge; a rope ladder

  1. a row of objects fastened or united to form a line: a rope of pearls; a rope of onions

  1. a quantity of material twisted or wound in the form of a cord

  2. anything in the form of a filament or strand, esp something viscous or glutinous: a rope of slime

  3. the rope

    • a rope, noose, or halter used for hanging

    • death by hanging, strangling, etc

  4. give someone enough rope to hang himself to allow someone to accomplish his own downfall by his own foolish acts

  5. know the ropes

    • to have a thorough understanding of a particular sphere of activity

    • to be experienced in the ways of the world

  6. on the ropes

    • boxing driven against the ropes enclosing the ring by an opponent's attack

    • in a defenceless or hopeless position

  1. (tr) to bind or fasten with or as if with a rope

  2. (tr usually foll by off) to enclose or divide by means of a rope

  1. (intr) to become extended in a long filament or thread

  2. (when intr , foll by up) mountaineering to tie (climbers) together with a rope

Origin of rope

Old English rāp; related to Old Saxon rēp, Old High German reif

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with rope


In addition to the idiom beginning with rope

  • rope in

also see:

  • end of one's rope
  • enough rope
  • (show someone) know the ropes
  • on the ropes

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