any of the small, relatively thin pieces of tarred rope which join the shrouds of a ship and serve as the steps of a ladder for climbing the rigging
also sp. rat′lin
Origin of ratlinealtered by folk etymology ; from Late Middle English ratling, radeling ; from uncertain or unknown; perhaps
- Any of the small ropes fastened horizontally to the shrouds of a ship and forming a ladder for going aloft.
- The material used for these ropes.
Origin of ratlineMiddle English rathelinge (line), wattling, ratline (cord).