- 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 rung2
- 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
Word Origin for rung
- the past participle of ring 2
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]