[ ruhng ]
/ rʌŋ /


one of the crosspieces, usually rounded, forming the steps of a ladder.
a rounded or shaped piece fixed horizontally, for strengthening purposes, as between the legs of a chair.
a spoke of a wheel.
a stout stick, rod, or bar, especially one of rounded section, forming a piece in something framed or constructed.
a stage in a scale, level in a hierarchy, etc.; degree: He rose a few rungs in the company.

Origin of rung

before 1000; Middle English; Old English hrung; cognate with Gothic hrunga rod, German Runge
Related formsrung·less, adjective
Can be confusedrung wrung Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for rungless (1 of 2)


/ (rʌŋ) /


one of the bars or rods that form the steps of a ladder
a crosspiece between the legs of a chair, etc
nautical a spoke on a ship's wheel or a handle projecting from the periphery
dialect a cudgel or staff
Derived Formsrungless, adjective

Word Origin for rung

Old English hrung; related to Old High German runga, Gothic hrugga

British Dictionary definitions for rungless (2 of 2)


/ (rʌŋ) /


the past participle of ring 2


See ring 2
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 rungless



Old English hrung "rod, bar," from Proto-Germanic *khrungo (cf. Middle Low German runge, Old High German runga "stake, stud, stave," German Runge "stake, stud, stave," Middle Dutch ronghe, Dutch rong "rung," Gothic hrugga "staff"), of unknown origin with no connections outside Germanic. Sense in English narrowed to "round or stave of a ladder" (first attested late 13c.), but usage of cognate words remains more general in other Germanic languages.

This [rungs] has generally been considered as a mere corruption of rounds; and people of education use only this latter word. [John Pickering, "A Vocabulary or Collection of Words and Phrases which have been Supposed to be Peculiar to the United States of America," Boston, 1816]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper