Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A hitch made in a line to shorten it.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A type of knot which is useful for shortening a rope or taking up slack.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A hitch by which a rope may be temporarily shortened.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The shank or leg of a sheep; hence, something lank, slender, or weak: in the quotation applied to a bridge.
  • n. Nautical, a kind of knot, hitch, or bend made on a rope to shorten it temporarily.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a knot for shortening a line

Etymologies

sheep +‎ shank (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The next day, we all commenced in earnest our studies in navigation and seamanship, the naval instructor with his assistants working us up in our mathematics and imparting to us the elements of plane and spherical trigonometry; while the boatswain and his mates gave us practical lessons in the setting up of rigging and making of knots, so that there should be no chance of our mistaking a "sheepshank" for a "cat's paw," or a "Flemish eye" for a "grommet!"

    Crown and Anchor Under the Pen'ant

  • Although, I'd classify Thom as a good drawer of ugly people. sheepshank

    Dean Beattie « Drawn! The Illustration and Cartooning Blog

  • Is there anything we can do to keep my illustrations with his stories? sheepshank

    “I have an idea for a children’s book” « Drawn! The Illustration and Cartooning Blog

  • Moeller gulped the last of his milk and rose, just in time to have a bubble of gas twist his intestine like a sailor knotting a sheepshank.

    The Android’s Dream: Chapter One « Whatever

  • Oaxyctl held up the bight of a line, the loop flopping over, and tied a sheepshank.

    Crystal Rain

  • Oaxyctl pulled the knot apart and demonstrated the bowline, the sheepshank, a simple square knot, and a sheet bend.

    Crystal Rain

  • Oaxyctl concentrated on joining two lines together with a sheepshank knot.

    Crystal Rain

  • Stupified as I was, some instinct must have told me not to refuse Gallantin's invitation a second time-it's a good rule, as I hope I've demonstrated, that when scalp-hunters offer you a squaw, you should take her away quick and quiet, and if you don't fancy her, then teach her the two times table, or "Tintern Abbey", or how to tie a sheepshank.

    Flashman and The Redskins

  • Figs. 81-82 illustrate two other forms of shortenings, but these can only be used where the end of the rope is free, and are intended for more permanent fastenings than the ordinary sheepshank; while Fig. 83 is particularly adapted to be cast loose at a moment's notice by jerking out the toggles, _A_, _B_.

    Knots, Splices and Rope Work A Practical Treatise

  • “I doubt na, frien’, ye’ll think ye’re nae sheepshank, 90

    The Brigs of Ayr

Comments

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  • Used to shorten a rope temporarily; for example, for a topmast shroud when the topmast is lowered. Most yachts today use wire topmast shrouds instead of hemp ones, however. Each shroud has two joints, so that when the topmast is housed, the lowest joint is unshackled and stowed away, and the upper joint is set up with the tackle or lanyards.

    January 9, 2008