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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

get (one's) bell rung

To receive a violent blow or injury, especially to the head and as might stun, concuss, or incapacitate. Sean got his bell rung by some guy in the bar last night after insulting his girlfriend. No wonder you keep getting your bell rung with the way you hassle people.
See also: bell, get, rung

ring (someone's) bell

1. To strike someone with a violent blow to the head, especially as might stun or concuss. I would have rung that guy's bell if I knew he had been trash-talking you. Sarah's likely to ring your bell if you keep harassing her like that.
2. To be enjoyable, preferable, or satisfactory to someone; to be or provide something that someone wants. A: "How's that new book you're reading?" B: "Eh, it isn't really ringing my bell, to be honest." I'd rather go see the action movie, if that's all right. Dramas just don't ring my bell.
3. To sexually attract or arouse someone; to bring someone sexual gratification or satisfaction. That redhead from across the bar has been ringing my bell all night. He looks mighty fine, all right. I'd like to take him home and ring his bell!
See also: bell, ring

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

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
References in classic literature ?
Thayer is a Vermonter who has climbed the ladder of experience from its lower rungs to the top.
It looks to me," said he, "as though the crook had rung up somebody before he went off.
Even if I rescued Raffles for the time being, the police would promptly ascertain that it was I who had been rung up by the burglar, and the fact of my not having said a word about it would be directly damning to me, if in the end it did not incriminate us both.
This very question came up, and the brutes themselves seemed so quick to see its possibilities that I thought best to take the bull by the horns and own that I had been rung up by somebody.
There was abundance of time to look about him again though, when he had rung it, for nobody came, so after ringing it twice or thrice he sat down upon his box, and waited.
I'm afraid you've rung a good many times perhaps,' she rejoined,