Stopper knot

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Stopper knot
Decorative Stopper Knots.JPG
NamesStopper knot, Backup knot, As numbered in picture : 1- Fiador, 2- Sailor's diamond (#693), 3- Figure-eight loop, 4- Diamond, 5- knife lanyard, 6- Chinese button, 7- Chinese button doubled, 8- True lover's, 9- Ashley's, 10- Celtic button, 11- Celtic button on the bight (and thus doubled and with lanyard loop), 12- Friendship, 13- Figure-eight, 14- Overhand
Typical useKeeps the line from slipping out of things.

A stopper knot (or simply stopper) is a knot that creates a fixed thicker point on an otherwise-uniform thickness rope for the purpose of preventing the rope, at that point, from slipping through a narrow passage, such as a hole in a block. to pass a rope through a block, or hole, is to reeve it. To pull it out is to unreeve it. Stopper knots prevent the rope from unreeving on its own.


"Stopper" has three distinct meanings in the context of knotting and cordage. A decorative stopper knot may be referred to as a lanyard knot.

The single-strand stopper knot is...[one variety] of knob knots. Generally it is tied as a terminal knot in the end of a rope, where it forms a knob or bunch, the general purpose of which is to prevent unreeving. It is found in the ends of running rigging. It secures the end of a sewing thread; it provides a handhold or a foothold in bell ropes and footropes. It adds weight to the end of a heaving line, and it is often employed decoratively, but it should not be used to prevent unlaying and fraying except in small cord, twine, and the like, as a whipping is in every way preferable for large and valuable material.

A monkey's tail "is a permanent or semipermanent stopper that is put in the bight as well as the end. It is also called single throat seizing, seized round turn, clinch, and pigtail...A small round turn is first taken, and a throat seizing, in length about a quarter of the round of the clinch, is put in. The monkey's tail is preferred for the purpose just described because it does less damage to rope than any knot. When the monkey's tail fetches against the rack the seizing takes the burden." [2]

At the end of a line

An Ashley stopper knot at the end of a line Ashley-stopper-lead-ABOK-526.jpg
An Ashley stopper knot at the end of a line

A stopper knot is tied at the end of a rope to prevent the end from unraveling. It then functions like a whipping knot.

A stopper knot is tied at the end of a rope to prevent the end from slipping through another knot, or passing back through a hole, block, or belay/rappel device. It then functions like a leash handle. Knots commonly used for this purpose are:

The Chinese button knot and the Celtic button knot are decorative stopper knots.

Around the standing part

When a stopper knot is tied outside another knot and around the standing part it can also be called a backup knot. Tying the end around the standing part helps prevent the knot from unraveling by not allowing the end to slide back into the knot: a kind of insurance against failure of the knot. Examples of this usage are often seen in climbing, rope rescue, and other safety-of-life situations. Common knots used for this purpose are:

Nautical usage

In nautical settings, a stopper may refer to a length of rope that is belayed at one end with the other end attached to a tensioned main line using a friction hitch in order to tension the stopper and thereby slacken the portion of the tensioned main line behind the friction hitch. For example if a sheet becomes jammed on a winch while under sail, a "stopper" can be used to temporarily take the strain off the winch while the riding turn is cleared.

See also

Related Research Articles

Knot Method of fastening or securing linear material

A knot is an intentional complication in cordage which may be practical or decorative, or both. Practical knots are classified by function, including hitches, bends, loop knots, and splices: a hitch fastens a rope to another object; a bend fastens two ends of a rope to each another; a loop knot is any knot creating a loop, and splice denotes any multi-strand knot, including bends and loops. A knot may also refer, in the strictest sense, to a stopper or knob at the end of a rope to keep that end from slipping through a grommet or eye. Knots have excited interest since ancient times for their practical uses, as well as their topological intricacy, studied in the area of mathematics known as knot theory.

Overhand knot type of knot

The overhand knot, also known as a a knot and half knot, is one of the most fundamental knots, and it forms the basis of many others, including the simple noose, overhand loop, angler's loop, reef knot, fisherman's knot, and water knot. The overhand knot is a stopper, especially when used alone, and hence it is very secure, to the point of jamming badly. It should be used if the knot is intended to be permanent. It is often used to prevent the end of a rope from unraveling. An overhand knot becomes a trefoil knot, a true knot in the mathematical sense, by joining the ends.

Truckers hitch hitch knot

The trucker's hitch is a compound knot commonly used for securing loads on trucks or trailers. This general arrangement, using loops and turns in the rope itself to form a crude block and tackle, has long been used to tension lines and is known by multiple names. Knot author Geoffrey Budworth claims the knot can be traced back to the days when carters and hawkers used horse-drawn conveyances to move their wares from place to place.

Marlinespike hitch

The marlinespike hitch is a temporary knot used to attach a rod to a rope in order to form a handle. This allows more tension than could be produced comfortably by gripping the rope with the hands alone. It is useful when tightening knots and for other purposes in ropework.

A whipping knot or whipping is a binding of marline twine or whipcord around the end of a rope to prevent its natural tendency to fray.

Figure-eight loop type de nœud

Figure-eight loop is a type of knot created by a loop on the bight. It is used in climbing and caving where rope strains are light to moderate and for decorative purposes.

The Flemish loop or figure-eight loop is perhaps stronger than the loop knot. Neither of these knots is used at sea, as they are hard to untie. In hooking a tackle to any of the loops, if the loop is long enough it is better to arrange the rope as a cat's paw.

Zeppelin bend bend knot

A Zeppelin bend is an end-to-end joining knot formed by two symmetrically interlinked overhand knots. It is stable, secure, and highly resistant to jamming. It is also resistant to the effects of slack shaking and cyclic loading.

Grief knot A knot which combines the features of a granny knot and a thief knot

A grief knot is a knot which combines the features of a granny knot and a thief knot, producing a result which is not generally useful for working purposes. The word grief does not carry its usual meaning but is a portmanteau of granny and thief.

The common whipping is the simplest type of whipping knot, a series of knots intended to stop a rope from unravelling. As it can slip off the rope easily, the common whipping should not be used for rope ends that will be handled. This whipping knot is also called 'wolf' whipping in some parts of the world. The 'Hangman's knot' is a variation of this whipping knot.

Slip knot Type of knot

The slip knot is a stopper knot which is easily undone by pulling the tail. The slip knot is related to the running knot, which will release when the standing end is pulled. Both knots are identical and are composed of a slipped overhand knot, where a bight allows the knot be released by pulling on an end; the working end for a slip knot, and the standing end for a running knot. The slip knot is used as a starting point for crochet and knitting.

The slip knot is a stopper knot that may be spilled or slipped instantly by pulling on the end to withdraw a loop. There is but one knot entitled to the name; any others having a similar feature are merely "slipped" knots.

Matthew Walker knot

A Matthew Walker knot is a decorative knot that is used to keep the end of a rope from fraying. It is tied by unraveling the strands of a twisted rope, knotting the strands together, then laying up the strands together again. It may also be tied using several separate cords, in which case it keeps the cords together in a bundle. The traditional use of the knot is to form a knob or "stopper" to prevent the end of the rope from passing through a hole, for instance in rigging the lanyards which tension the shrouds on older sailing ships with standing rigging of fiber cordage.

Munter hitch Adjustable knot used control friction in a belay system

The Munter hitch, also known as the Italian hitch or the Crossing Hitch, is a simple adjustable knot, commonly used by climbers, cavers, and rescuers to control friction in a life-lining or belay system. To climbers, this knot is also known as HMS, the abbreviation for the German term Halbmastwurfsicherung, meaning half clove hitch belay. This technique can be used with a special "pear-shaped" HMS locking carabiner, or any locking carabiner wide enough to take two turns of the rope. The Munter hitch is named after Werner Munter, a Swiss mountain guide who popularised its use in mountaineering.

Half hitch overhand knot

The half hitch is a simple overhand knot, where the working end of a line is brought over and under the standing part. Insecure on its own, it is a valuable component of a wide variety of useful and reliable hitches, bends, and knots.

Rolling hitch

The rolling hitch is a knot used to attach a rope to a rod, pole, or another rope. A simple friction hitch, it is used for lengthwise pull along an object rather than at right angles. The rolling hitch is designed to resist lengthwise movement for only a single direction of pull.


A Prusik is a friction hitch or knot used to attach a loop of cord around a rope, applied in climbing, canyoneering, mountaineering, caving, rope rescue, ziplining, and by arborists. The term Prusik is a name for both the loops of cord and the hitch, and the verb is "to prusik". More casually, the term is used for any friction hitch or device that can grab a rope. Due to the pronunciation, the word is often misspelled Prussik, Prussick, or Prussic.

Button knot type of knot

A button knot is a knot that forms a bulge of thread. Button knots are essentially stopper knots, but may be esthetically pleasing enough to be used as a button on clothes.

The single-strand button is a third type of knob knot, in which the working end leaves the knot at the neck, parallel with the standing part, so that the two parts, or ends, together form a stem. The lay of the two ends is the same, and the knot is symmetrical throughout.


  1. Ashley, Clifford W. (1944). The Ashley Book of Knots, p.83. Doubleday. ISBN   0-385-04025-3.
  2. Ashley (1944), p.88.