a structure of wood, metal, or rope, commonly consisting of two sidepieces between which a series of bars or rungs are set at suitable distances, forming a means of climbing up or down.
something resembling this.
a means of rising, as to eminence: the ladder of success.
a graded series of stages or levels in status; a hierarchical order of position or rank: high on the political ladder.
Nautical, companionway ( def 1 ).
Chiefly British. a run in a stocking.
verb (used with object)
to climb or mount by means of a ladder: to ladder a wall.
to furnish with a ladder: to ladder a water tower.
Chiefly British. to cause a run in (a stocking).
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.

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

ladderless, adjective
ladderlike, laddery, adjective

ladder, latter. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
ladder (ˈlædə)
1.  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
2.  any hierarchy conceived of as having a series of ascending stages, levels, etc: the social ladder
3.  a.  anything resembling a ladder
 b.  (as modifier): ladder stitch
4.  chiefly (Brit) Also called: run a line of connected stitches that have come undone in knitted material, esp stockings
5.  See ladder tournament
6.  chiefly (Brit) 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
[Old English hlǣdder; related to Old High German leitara]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. hlæder, from P.Gmc. *khlaidri (cf. O.Fris. hledere, M.Du. ledere, O.H.G. leitara, Ger. Leiter), from PIE base *khli- "to lean" (cf. Gk. klimax "ladder;" see lean (v.)). The belief that walking under one brings bad luck is attested from 1787, but its origin likely
is more pragmatic than symbolic.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Bible Dictionary

Ladder definition

occurs only once, in the account of Jacob's vision (Gen. 28:12).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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