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ratline

[rat-lin] /ˈræt lɪn/
noun, Nautical
1.
any of the small ropes or lines that traverse the shrouds horizontally and serve as steps for going aloft.
2.
Also, ratline stuff. three-stranded, right-laid, tarred hemp stuff of from 6 to 24 threads, used for ratlines, lashings, etc.
Also, ratlin.
Origin
1475-1485
1475-85; earlier ratling, radelyng < ?
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for ratlin

ratline

/ˈrætlɪn/
noun
1.
(nautical) any of a series of light lines tied across the shrouds of a sailing vessel for climbing aloft
Word Origin
C15: of unknown origin
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 ratlin

ratline

n.

"thin rope," especially as used on sailing ships, late 15c., originally ratling, of unknown origin; spelling ratline attested from 1773, by influence of line (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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6
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