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Granny knot

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Title: Granny knot  
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Subject: Reef knot, Thief knot, Grief knot, Granny knot (mathematics), Knot
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Granny knot

Granny knot
Names Granny knot, False knot, Lubber's knot, Calf knot, Booby knot
Category Binding
Related Reef knot, Thief knot, Grief knot
Releasing often jams
Caveat Should not be used as a bend. Inferior to reef knot for binding purposes, it can release suddenly and unpredictably.
ABoK #3, #80, #186, #464, #1206, #1405, #2553, #3786

The granny knot is a binding knot, used to secure a rope or line around an object. It is considered inferior to the reef knot (square knot), which it superficially resembles. Neither of these knots should be used as a bend knot for attaching two ropes together.


  • Etymology 1
  • Tying 2
  • Heraldry 3
  • Related knots 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Called the "granny's knot" with references going back to at least 1867, the knot was so-called because it is "the natural knot tied by women or landsmen".[1] It has also been suggested that rather than impugning the knot tying skill of grandmothers, the name "granny" may be a corruption of granary after its possible use tying the necks of grain sacks.[2]


When attempting to tie a reef knot, it is easy to produce a granny knot accidentally. This is dangerous because the granny knot can slip when heavily loaded. A tightened granny knot can also jam and is often more difficult to untie than the reef knot. It is better to tie a reef knot in nearly all circumstances. One way to distinguish them is that in the reef knot each loop passes completely over, or completely under (not through) the neck of the other.

The reef knot is commonly taught as left over right, tuck under then right over left, tuck under. The granny knot is the first step repeated twice, left over right, tuck under. This is a very common mistake made by people learning to tie a reef knot.

Bourchier knot of heraldry


In heraldry, the granny knot is known as the Bourchier knot, due to being a heraldic badge of the Bourchier family.[3]

Related knots

See also


  1. ^ Smyth, William Henry (2008) [1867], Sir Edward Belcher, ed., The Sailor's Word-Book,  
  2. ^ Budworth, Geoffrey (2000), The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Knots, New York: Lyons Press, p. 40 
  3. ^ Arthur Charles Fox-Davies, A Complete Guide to Heraldry (1909), pp. 390, 469.

External links

  • "The Reef Knot Family",
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