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n. pl.1.(Naut.) The small transverse ropes attached to the shrouds and forming the steps of a rope ladder.
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, published 1913 by G. & C. Merriam Co.
References in classic literature ?
The crew, perched in the ratlines, examined the horizon which contracted and darkened by degrees.
And Simon Nishikanta tore himself away from his everlasting painting of all colour-delicacies of sea and sky such as are painted by seminary maidens, to be helped and hoisted up the ratlines of the mizzen rigging, the huge bulk of him, by two grinning, slim-waisted sailors, until they lashed him squarely on the crosstrees and left him to stare with eyes of golden desire, across the sun-washed sea through the finest pair of unredeemed binoculars that had ever been pledged in his pawnshops.
"Joe, look out for yourself!" shouted the doctor in his sonorous, ringing voice, as he flung out the ladder, the lowest ratlines of which tossed up the dust of the road.
The staffs themselves were like ships' masts, with topmasts spliced on in true nautical fashion, with shrouds, ratlines, gaffs, and flag-halyards.
Steering I picked up easily, but running aloft to the crosstrees and swinging my whole weight by my arms when I left the ratlines and climbed still higher, was more difficult.
I paced a turn or two on the poop and saw him take up his position face forward with his elbow in the ratlines of the mizzen rigging before I went below.
The last of the fish had been whipped out, and Harvey leaped from the string-piece six feet to a ratline, as the shortest way to hand Disko the tally, shouting, "Two ninety-seven, and an empty hold!"
US, French and other forces from these countries are in the midst of cutting illicit networks that were tied back to Libya's south and the ratlines of illegal migration.
Adding to the concern was the fact that some Catholic leaders, such as Bishop Alois Hudal, openly sympathized with the German cause and established ratlines after the war to help Nazi war criminals escape justice.
We had a large, well-trained, superbly equipped force, while AQI had to recruit locals and smuggle in foreign fighters one by one through dangerous, unreliable ratlines. We enjoyed robust communications technology, while they were often dependent on face-to-face meetings and letters delivered by courier to minimize the risk of detection.