from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.
- noun nautical Alternative form of
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- noun (nautical) a small horizontal rope between the shrouds of a sailing ship; they form a ladder for climbing aloft
Sorry, no etymologies found.
His hardest duty was supposed to be shinning up the ratlin to "reef," or "brail up," or "splice the mainbrace," or do some other of those mysterious things that caused him to look so mythical to the minds of land-lubbers and the simple-hearted kind of women that used to be, but now no longer are.
He went below, and the schooner captain shook his head, and, locking his arm round a ratlin, gave his body to the gentle roll of the craft as she stole along, skirting the sunset, splendid, and to the nautical eye full of fine weather.
From the bulwarks rose on all sides, to the ends of the yards, a huge net made of ratlin stuff, boiled in pitch until it would turn the edge of a cutlass, and further strengthened by nail-rods and small chains.
I saw this, and was about to jump into the rigging to try what I could do to clear it, when Neb again went ahead of me, and cut the ratlin with his knife.
It was admirably thrown, but caught only by a ratlin.
"Hilloa!" exclaimed the skipper with a sudden start, next morning, as he saw Eric's recumbent figure on the ratlin stuff, "who be this young varmint?"
He seemed to wish to drop the subject, and at this moment a gleam of sunshine lit up the distant coast-line with such ethereal tints, that I did not wonder to see him spring upon the bulwarks and, catching a ratlin with one hand, wave his cap above his head with the other, crying, "GOD bless the Emerald Isle!"
These tops hung overhead like three ruinous aviaries, in one of which was seen, perched, on a ratlin, a white noddy, a strange fowl, so called from its lethargic, somnambulistic character, being frequently caught by hand at sea.
He saw that I was accustomed to act for myself, young as I was, and that I should have less chance of slipping off the ladder, if I mounted each ratlin by myself; and he considered that as I was of somewhat a poetical temperament, if my mind received a hot bed forcing at too early an age, I should be unfitted to struggle on in this every-day working world.
From my earliest days to the present time I have been gradually climbing up the ladder towards a comfortable berth on the top; and if a ratlin has given way beneath my feet, I always have had a firm hold above my head.