ladder


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corporate ladder

The hierarchy of authority and earning power within a large business or corporation, likened to the rungs of a ladder. Usually used with some variable verb or phrase referring to ascension. Although you're starting at an entry-level position, this company prides itself on giving employees the opportunity to climb the corporate ladder if they prove their abilities and determination. She proved early on that she had unique business smarts, and she's been making her way up the corporate ladder ever since.
See also: corporate, ladder

low man on the ladder

The person (not necessarily male) with the least amount of experience, authority, and/or influence in a social or corporate hierarchy. It can be a little daunting going from being a senior in high school to low man on the ladder again as a college freshman. I know I'll be low man on the ladder with this internship, but it will at least give me a place to start my career!
See also: ladder, low, man, on

the lowest rung on the ladder

The person with the least amount of experience, authority, and/or influence in a social or corporate hierarchy. It can be a little daunting going from being a senior in high school to the lowest rung of the ladder again as a college freshman. I know I'll be the lowest rung on the ladder with this internship, but it will at least give me a place to start my career!
See also: ladder, low, on, rung

the lowest rung of the ladder

The lowest, most basic position in a given group. Quarks are at the lowest rung of the ladder in the physical makeup of matter. Tech startups may start on the lowest rung of the ladder economically, but, given their business model, they have a very high potential for growth.
See also: ladder, low, of, rung

the social ladder

The hierarchical structure or makeup of a culture, society, or social environment. Miss Dumfey hopes to improve her standing on the social ladder with a marriage to the baron. It's always hard for high school freshmen to find their place on the social ladder. Mary's had a chip on her shoulder from being raised in a trailer park, so climbing the social ladder has been her only aim since leaving home.
See also: ladder, social

climb the social ladder

To improve one's position within the hierarchical structure or makeup of a culture, society, or social environment. Miss Dumfey hopes to climb the social ladder by marrying the local diplomat. John's had a chip on his shoulder from being raised in a trailer park, so climbing the social ladder has been his only aim since leaving home.
See also: climb, ladder, social

snakes and ladders

A children's board game in which players try to reach the finish while encountering ladders that move them quickly forward, and snakes that force them back near the start. My little sister loves to play snakes and ladders, but I find it so frustrating because I always seem to land on snakes!
See also: and, ladder, snake

at the bottom of the ladder

Occupying the lowest, most basic position in a given group. Quarks are at the bottom of the ladder in the physical makeup of matter. Tech startups may start on the bottom of the ladder economically, but, given their business model, they have a very high potential for growth.
See also: bottom, ladder, of

at the top of the ladder

In the highest or most important position in a group or organization. With her new promotion, Jill is now at the top of the ladder as CEO.
See also: ladder, of, top

at the bottom of the ladder

 and on the bottom rung (of the ladder)
Fig. at the lowest level of pay and status. (Alludes to the lowness of the bottom rung of a ladder.) Most people start work at the bottom of the ladder. After Ann got fired, she had to start all over again on the bottom rung.
See also: bottom, ladder, of

can't see a hole in a ladder

stupid or drunk. No use asking her questions. She can't see a hole in a ladder. After the big party, Joe needed someone to drive him home. He couldn't see a hole in a ladder.
See also: hole, ladder, see

Crosses are ladders that lead to heaven.

Prov. Having to endure trouble can help you to be virtuous. When Mary was diagnosed with cancer, her mother consoled her by saying that crosses are ladders that lead to heaven, and that though she might have to suffer in this world, she would surely be rewarded in the next.
See also: Crosse, heaven, ladder, lead

He who would climb the ladder must begin at the bottom.

Prov. If you want to gain high status, you must start with low status and slowly work upwards. Although Thomas hoped to become a famous journalist, he didn't mind working for a small-town newspaper at first. "He who would climb the ladder must begin at the bottom," he said.
See also: begin, bottom, climb, he, ladder, must, who

the bottom of the ladder

the lowest rank Because she was just out of college, her job was at the bottom of the ladder.
Opposite of: top of the ladder
See also: bottom, ladder, of

the top of the ladder

the highest level or position After thirty years with the company, he's near the top of the ladder.
Opposite of: the bottom of the ladder
See also: ladder, of, top

the [first/highest/next etc.] rung on the ladder

the first, highest, next etc. position, especially in society or in a job In our society, a nurse is hardly on the same rung of the ladder as a judge. President of the Union at Oxford University was the first rung on the political ladder for him.
See also: ladder, on, rung

at the top of the ladder

in the highest position in an organization He's at the top of the ladder after a long and successful career.
See also: ladder, of, top

bottom of the ladder

Lowest or most junior position in a hierarchy. For example, If we hire you, you'll have to begin at the bottom of the ladder. The rungs of a ladder have been likened to a step-wise progression since the 14th century. Also see low man on the totem pole.
See also: bottom, ladder, of
References in classic literature ?
But," said Bazin, yawning portentously, "the ladder is still at the window.
I had somehow the impression that he was on the point of letting go the ladder to swim away beyond my ken--mysterious as he came.
The other two officers were not dead or mortally wounded, but Macbride lay with a broken leg and his ladder on top of him, evidently thrown down from the top window of the tower; while Wilson lay on his face, quite still as if stunned, with his red head among the gray and silver of the sea holly.
Tars Tarkas went in advance and as I reached the first of the horizontal bars I drew the ladder up after me and, handing it to him, he carried it a hundred feet further aloft, where he wedged it safely between one of the bars and the side of the shaft.
A lesser ladder still ascended to a tinier trap-door in the apex of the tower; the fixed seats looked to me to be wearing their old, old coat of grained varnish; nay the varnish had its ancient smell, and the very vanes outside creaked their message to my ears.
About eight bells of the forenoon watch I heard a hail from the deck, and presently the footsteps of the entire ship's company, from the amount of noise I heard at the ladder.
Everything, therefore, depended upon whether he could procure a ladder of sufficient length, -- one of twenty-five feet instead of ten.
Undeterred by his heavy fall, Jerry essayed the ladder again.
And he slipped through the opening, found the ladder with his feet, closed the panel behind him, and started downward into the darkness.
I left my seat to fetch the library ladder, determining to begin the work of investigation on the top shelves.
Greatly agitated, almost trembling, Daddy Jacques disappeared for a moment and returned without the ladder, but making signs to me with his arms, as signals to me to come quickly to him.
It was my first descent into the forecastle, and I shall not soon forget my impression of it, caught as I stood on my feet at the bottom of the ladder.
By divers ways and wendings did I arrive at my truth; not by one ladder did I mount to the height where mine eye roveth into my remoteness.
As soon as the little vehicle had apparently reached the bottom, he turned, thrust the electric torch in his pocket, and stepped lightly down the ladder.
The man with the green eyes was the first to descend the ladder, and I noticed that he came somewhat unsteadily.