- a kind of knot, hitch, or bend made on a rope to shorten it temporarily.
- a knot consisting of two hitches at the ends of a bight made in a rope to shorten it temporarily
n.also sheepshank, 1670s, “leg of a sheep,” from sheep + shank (n.). A type of something lank, slender, or weak. Attested earlier in transferred sense of “type of sailor’s knot used to shorten a rope without cutting it” (1620s).