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[ra-pel, ruh-] /ræˈpɛl, rə-/
(in mountaineering) the act or method of moving down a steep incline or past an overhang by means of a double rope secured above and placed around the body, usually under the left thigh and over the right shoulder, and paid out gradually in the descent.
verb (used without object), rappelled, rappelling.
to descend by means of a rappel.
Origin of rappel
1930-35; < French: mountaineering term, literally, a recall. See repeal Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for rappel
  • Adventurers are also allowed, on the same day, to rappel from the span.
  • rappel over rooftops and drop down on unsuspecting punks, solve riddles, and undertake side missions.
  • To reach the bottom you need to rappel down, which is an easy skill to learn even as a beginning climber.
  • The park requests that climbers rappel from the anchors instead of lowering, if possible.
  • Make sure that you know exactly where your rappel route is before you begin.
  • On some routes local climbers maintain fixed protection or rappel stations.
  • Don't climb or rappel in areas where it is not permitted.
  • Self-rescue methods include the foot wrap and the rappel.
British Dictionary definitions for rappel


verb -pels, -pelling, -pelled
another word (esp US) for abseil
another word (esp US) for abseil
(formerly) a drumbeat to call soldiers to arms
Word Origin
C19: from French, from rappeler to call back, from Latin appellāre to summon
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
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Word Origin and History for rappel

1931, "mountaineering technique for descending steep faces," from French rappel, literally "recall" (Old French rapel), from rapeler "to recall, summon" (see repeal (v.)). The same word had been borrowed earlier (1848) to mean "a drum roll to summon soldiers."


1957 in the mountaineering sense; see rappel (n.). Related: Rappeled; rappelling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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