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also rat·lin  (răt′lĭn)
1. Any of the small ropes fastened horizontally to the shrouds of a ship and forming a ladder for going aloft.
2. The material used for these ropes.

[Alteration (perhaps influenced by rat, with reference to ships' rats) of Middle English ratheling in ratheling line, thin cordage used for ratlines, from Middle English rathelen, to entwine + probably from alteration of Middle English raddle, stick, wattle, hurdle woven from wattle, perhaps from Anglo-Norman ridele, redele, rail on the side of a cart, probably of Germanic origin and akin to Middle High German reitel, reidel, toggle, turning handle, Old High German rīdan, to turn, wind; and Old English wrīthan, to writhe; see writhe.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(ˈrætlɪn) or


(Nautical Terms) nautical any of a series of light lines tied across the shrouds of a sailing vessel for climbing aloft
[C15: of unknown origin]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


or rat•lin

(ˈræt lɪn)

any of the small ropes or lines that cross the shrouds of a ship horizontally and serve as steps for going aloft.
[1475–85; earlier ratling, radelyng, of obscure orig.]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


An organized effort for moving personnel and/or material by clandestine means across a denied area or border.
Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms. US Department of Defense 2005.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.ratline - (nautical) a small horizontal rope between the shrouds of a sailing shipratline - (nautical) a small horizontal rope between the shrouds of a sailing ship; they form a ladder for climbing aloft
sailing, seafaring, navigation - the work of a sailor
line - something (as a cord or rope) that is long and thin and flexible; "a washing line"
ship - a vessel that carries passengers or freight
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


, ratlin
n (Naut) → Webeleine f
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007
References in classic literature ?
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!"
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.
(Another Hezbollah unit, Unit 100, runs a ratline in the reverse direction, from Lebanon to Syria to Iran, ferrying Hezbollah trainees to and from advanced training in the handling and use of the rockets delivered from Iran, like the Fateh-110.
CJIATF-Nexus 'Targeting Officers' also supported the counternarcotics targeting mission by conducting network, pattern of life, illicit ratline and named area of interest analyses (Camehl, 2012).
A primary goal of VMI's Ratline and adversative educational style is to break down each student, removing all traces of individuality or difference, and rebuild him or her into a VMI cadet- the educated and honorable citizen-soldier.
After all, if our gender polarized, androcentric American society traditionally associates attributes, such as physical weakness, with women, then what does it mean to the average male cadet when a woman survives the rigors of the Ratline, outperforms him during the physical fitness exam, or holds rank over him?
The film is directed by award-winning indie film veteran Eric Stanze, who helmed the critically-acclaimed films "Ratline", "Deadwood Park", "Scrapbook", and "Ice From The Sun".