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  1. (nautical) The net like ropework of the shrouds, formed by cross ropes, allowing sailors to climb up towards the top of the mast.
    • 1980: That meant it was not possible to use ratlines -- that is, to make rope ladders out of the shrouds by adding small connecting pieces of ropes. — Richard W. Unger, The Ship in the Medieval Economy 600-1600, page 34.

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