A Dictionary of the English Language
                        A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson
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View Scan · View Transcription · from pages 1162, 1163

View Scan · View Transcription · from pages 1162, 1163

La'dder. n.s. [hlaꝺꞃ, Saxon.]

  1. A frame made with steps placed between two upright pieces.

    Whose compost is rotten, and carried in time,
    And spread as it should be, thrift's ladder may clime.

    Now streets grow throng'd, and busy as by day,
    Some run for buckets to the hallow'd quire;
    Some cut the pipes, and some the engines play,
    And some more bold mount ladders to the fire.

    I saw a stage erected about a foot and a half from the ground, capable of holding four of the inhabitants with two or three ladders to mount it. Gulliver's Travels.

    Easy in words thy stile, in sense sublime;
    'Tis like the ladder in the patriarch's dream,
    Its foot on earth, its height above the skies.

  2. Any thing by which one climbs.

    Then took she help to her of a servant near about her husband, whom she knew to be of a hasty ambition; and such a one, who wanting true sufficiency to raise him, would make a ladder of any mischief. Sidney, b. ii.

                    I must climb her window,
    The ladder made of cords.
    Shakes. Two Gent. of Verona.

    Northumberland, thou ladder, by the which
    My cousin Bolingbroke ascends my throne.

    Lowliness is young ambition's ladder,
    Whereto the climber upward turns his face.

  3. A gradual rise.

    Endow'd with all these accomplishments, we leave him in the full career of success, mounting fast towards the top of the ladder ecclesiastical, which he hath a fair probability to reach. Swift.

Sources: Dryden, John (788) · Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 2 (72) · Shakespeare's Julius Caesar (42) · Prior, Matthew (162) · Sidney, Philip (140) · Swift, Jonathan (306) · Tusser, Thomas (25) · Shakespeare's Two Gentlemen of Verona (41)

Attributes: Noun Substantive (1269) · Saxon (215)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Ladder." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: November 25, 2013. https://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/ladder/.

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