Alternative formsEdit


Apparently an alteration of raddling, after rat, line.


ratline (plural ratlines)

ratlines used as a ladder
  1. (nautical, uncountable) The rope or similar material used to make cross-ropes on a ship. [from 14th c.]
  2. (nautical) Any of the cross ropes between the shrouds, which form a net like ropework, allowing sailors to climb up towards the top of the mast. [from 17th c.]
    • 1808–10, William Hickey, Memoirs of a Georgian Rake, Folio Society 1995, p. 80:
      [H]e laid hold of the first ratline with his right hand, then sprung to the second, with his left, and so on alternately, right and left, up to the last, close to the futtock shrouds.
    • 1980, Richard W. Unger, The Ship in the Medieval Economy 600-1600, page 34
      That meant it was not possible to use ratlines -- that is, to make rope ladders out of the shrouds by adding small connecting pieces of ropes.