[ra-pel, ruh-]
(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.

1930–35; < French: mountaineering term, literally, a recall. See repeal

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World English Dictionary
rappel (ræˈpɛl)
vb, —n , -pels, -pelling, -pelled
1.  another word for abseil
2.  (formerly) a drumbeat to call soldiers to arms
[C19: from French, from rappeler to call back, from Latin appellāre to summon]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

1931, "mountaineering technique for descending steep faces," from Fr. rappel, lit. "recall," from O.Fr. rapel, from rapeler "to recall, summon" (see repeal). The verb is first recorded 1957. The same word had been borrowed earlier (1848) to mean "a drum roll to summon soldiers."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
When you're rappelling off a waterfall, there's a point where you're hanging on
  your rope but also floating in the water.
Rappelling is the art of descending a cliff face or wall while suspended from a
Today's rappelling expedition, whose liability waiver required listing her
  insurance carrier, also ranks up there.
The one-day course teaches rappelling, belaying, climbing technique and rope
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