Parts of a knot

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We use specific terms when explaining how to tie a knot. Become familiar with these terms make teaching knots to other scouts easier. With practice using the correct terms becomes natural.

From knots, splices and rope work, by A. Hyatt Verrill 1917
From knots, splices and rope work, by A. Hyatt Verrill 1917

Parts of a rope

Standing part

The standing part is the non-active part of the rope in knot tying. It is the part opposite the working end.

Working end

  • The working end of a rope is the part active in tying the knot.
  • The part opposite of the standing end. ( sometimes also known as the Working End.)


  1. A bight is a curved section or slack part between the two ends of a rope,
  2. Any central part of a rope (between the standing end and the working end)[1],
  3. A knot that can be tied using only the bight of a rope, without access to the ends, is described as on the bight (e.g. Bowline on a bight Highwayman's hitch, Alpine butterfly.
  4. The term "bight" is also used when describing Turk's head knots, indicating how many repetitions of braiding are made in the circuit of a given knot.

Many knots normally tied with an end also have a form which is tied in the bight

Knotting terms

Binding Knot

Binding knots are used to hold objects together. In binding knots, the ends of rope are either joined together and pulled tight (e.g. Reef knot.

Capsize a knot

A knot that has deformed into a different structure (often because it was not set properly). A knot can sometimes be capsized by the wrong application of the knot (like the Reef knot), it can also be done in certain cases to strengthen the knot (e.g. Carrick bend)


Frapping turns are a set of loops coiled around a lashing to tighten and hold the lashing together. Frapping mallet is a tool used to give mechanical advantage make frapping turns very tight.


A knot to attach a rope an object, often a ring, pole, or stave.


A lashing is used to bind poles or staves together (e.g. Square lashing). Used in pioneering constructions like a Trestle table.

On a bight

The phrase in the bight (or on a bight) means a bight of line is used to make a knot. This also means the knot can be formed without access to the ends of the rope. This can be an important property for knots to be used in situations where the ends of the rope are inaccessible, such as forming a fixed loop in the middle of a long climbing rope.

Setting a knot

Setting a knot is the process of positioning the rope before tightening the knot - also known as dressing the knot. Setting the knot properly to help the knots perform correctly and less likely to capsize.

Slipped knot

In order to make a slipped knot, a bight is passed, rather than the end. This slipped form of the knot is more easily untied. The traditional bow used for tying a shoelace s is simply a reef knot with the final overhand knot made with two bights instead of the ends. Similarly, a slippery hitch is a slipped clove hitch.


A method of joining two ropes by weaving the strands of the ropes together.

Stopper knot

See more at Stopper knot
A knot tied in the end of a rope to prevent the rope from pulling through a hole (or a pulley).