lad‧der1 S3 [countable]
a piece of equipment used for climbing up to or down from high places. A ladder has two bars that are connected by rungs (=short bars that you use as steps): ➔ rope ladder, stepladder
She climbed up the ladder.
He hurt himself falling off a ladder.
a series of levels which someone moves up and down within an organization, profession, or society
Stevens slowly worked his way up the corporate ladder.
Becoming a doctor would be a step up the social ladder.
the first step on the ladder of success
3 British English
a long thin hole in stockings or tights where some stitches have broken [= run American English]
Yes, I know I've got a ladder in my tights.