1. A flexible heavy cord of tightly intertwined hemp or other fiber.
2. A string of items attached in one line, especially by twisting or braiding: a rope of onions.
3. A sticky glutinous formation of stringy matter in a liquid.
a. A cord with a noose at one end for hanging a person.
b. Execution or death by hanging: to die by the rope.
5. A lasso or lariat.
6. ropes Sports Several cords strung between poles to enclose a boxing or wrestling ring.
7. ropes Informal Specialized procedures or details: learn the ropes; know the ropes.
8. Baseball A line drive.
v. roped, rop·ing, ropes
1. To tie, fasten, or attach with a rope or other cord.
2. To enclose, separate, or partition with a rope or other cord: rope off the scene of the crime.
3. To catch with a rope or lasso.
4. Informal To persuade or manipulate (someone): My boss roped me into attending the ceremony.
1. To descend using a rope, as from a cliff or a hovering helicopter.
2. To lower (something) by means of a rope.
1. To climb a steep slope or dangerous area using a rope.
2. To attach climbers to a rope for safety: roped up before crossing the glacier.
on the ropes
1. Sports Knocked against the ropes that enclose a boxing ring.
2. On the verge of defeat or collapse; hopeless or powerless.
[Middle English, from Old English rāp.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.