a. An often portable structure consisting of two long sides crossed by parallel rungs, used to climb up and down.
b. Something that resembles this device, especially a run in a stocking.
a. A means of moving higher or lower, as in a hierarchy: used his accomplishments as a ladder to success.
b. A series of ranked stages or levels: high on the executive ladder.
3. A fish ladder.
a. An athletic workout in which one does progressively longer intervals followed by progressively shorter intervals.
b. One of the intervals in such a workout.
intr.v. lad·dered, lad·der·ing, lad·ders
To run, as a stocking does.
[Middle English, from Old English hlǣder; see klei- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.