I saw him climbing up/on or climb the tree to pluck the mangoes.

"Climb", by itself, means to go upward gradually. Then why do we use climb down? How do we differentiate and use them in a sentence? Can't I simply use climb?


climb / climb up: to go up something towards the top… e.g:

  • She climbed up the stairs.

  • The car slowly climbed the hill.

climb down: to move down, especially with difficulty or effort… e.g:

Can you climb down?

For more examples, visit this Oxford Learners Dictionaries website.

  • Climb down is pretty much never used of any direction but down, which isn't specifically noted here. – Nathan Tuggy Oct 10 '15 at 6:03
  • @Nathan Tuggy Good point, Thanks. Edited my answer. – M-Y Oct 10 '15 at 6:34

You can use the verb climb without up to mean to go up, but it's more common and idiomatic to use "climb up". Moreover, if you use climb down to mean to go down, it's more appropriate to use climb up for moving up.

As explained by Jasper in his comments, 'climb on' is also used.

  • Thank you. So, climb on is never used. Right? – Seema Bhukar Oct 10 '15 at 6:45
  • @Seema Bhukar -- "Climb on" is often used. For example, "The kids were climbing on the jungle gym" means that "the kids" were on the jungle gym, and they were climbing. They might have been climbing up, climbing down, swinging between the bars, and/or going sideways. A "jungle gym" is a small building constructed of pipes, designed for children to climb on and/or swing from. It is open to the air through the many holes between the pipes. – Jasper Oct 10 '15 at 7:00
  • "Go up the hill to 90m" or "climb the hill to 90m". – Kumar sadhu Mar 28 '19 at 0:13

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