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A noose knot tied in kernmantle rope
NamesNoose, running knot
RelatedSlip knot, overhand knot hangman's knot, running bowline, arbor knot
Typical useAnimal snares, knitting, self tightening end loop
ABoK#1114,[1] #1803, #1789, #8, #43, #1825

A noose is a loop at the end of a rope in which the knot tightens under load and can be loosened without untying the knot. The knot can be used to secure a rope to a post, pole, or animal but only where the end is in a position that the loop can be passed over.


The noose knot is a slipped version of the overhand knot

The knot is tied by forming a loop in the end of a rope, and then passing a bight of the standing part through the loop. The noose knot is a slipped version of the overhand knot.

Use in hanging[edit]

The knot most closely associated with execution is the hangman's knot, which is also known as the "hangman's noose". Tying is similar to the original noose, but many turns are wrapped around the loop. The reason for this was to make the hanging more humane, as it would break the person's neck, killing the person instantly, rather than strangling them to death. A similar method is also commonly used for suicide. Search engines such as Google provide the number of a suicide helpline if a search for "how to tie a noose" is made.[2]

Use in intimidation and hate-based racial politics[edit]

In the United States, a noose is sometimes left as a message in order to intimidate people, as it was the main object used in segregation era lynchings.[3][4] In 2020, a bill to make lynching a federal hate crime was introduced.[5] It is illegal to display a noose in a threatening manner in Virginia,[6] New York and Connecticut.[7]

Austin Reed Edenfield, a former student of the University of Mississippi, pled guilty in 2016 to a federal civil-rights crime, acknowledging that he and Graeme Phillip Harris had tied a noose and a Confederate flag around the neck of a statue honoring James Meredith, the university's first African-American student.[8] Harris was sentenced to prison and Edenfield to probation and community service.[9]

In September 2019, Andrew M. Smith, a University of Illinois student, was arrested for placing a noose in a campus elevator. "The incident comes just months after black employees filed a class-action lawsuit against the campus, alleging they faced racial harassment and were exposed to threats of racial violence, such as nooses, swastikas, KKK garb, racist graffiti, and confederate flags."[10] He was sentenced to supervision, public service, and a $75 fine.[11]

In July 2020 a garage assigned to African-American NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace had been found to contain a "garage door pull rope fashioned like a noose". After the discovery, which was made by a crew member for Richard Petty Motorsports at the Alabama racetrack, NASCAR was alerted and contacted the FBI, which sent 15 agents to the track to investigate. After the FBI investigation the authorities said the rope had been hanging there since last fall and thus was not a hate crime targeting Wallace. The agencies said no crime was committed and the evidence did not support federal charges.[12][13] The actions of NASCAR, especially NASCAR president Steve Phelps' claim of it being a hate crime without investigation have been criticized.[14] Holman W. Jenkins Jr. on The Wall Street Journal claimed the controversy and media furor concerning the incident could have been prevented by not contacting FBI and NASCAR authorities quickly checking the video surveillance by themselves, since NASCAR already tightly controls and surveils access to its garages.[15]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Jack Shuler, The Thirteenth Turn: A History of the Noose, Public Affairs, 2014, ISBN 9781610391368


  1. ^ Ashley, Clifford W. (1993) [1944], The Ashley Book of Knots, New York: Doubleday, p. 204, ISBN 0-385-04025-3
  2. ^ Cohen, Noam (2010-04-05). "'Suicide' Query Prompts Google to Offer Hotline". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-08-02.
  3. ^ Noose incidents evoke segregation-era fears, NBC News. October 10, 2007.
  4. ^ Coast Guard tries to deal with noose incidents, CNN. October 4, 2007.
  5. ^ Fortin, Jacey (26 February 2020). "Congress Moves to Make Lynching a Federal Crime After 120 Years of Failure". The New York Times.
  6. ^ Displaying noose on property of another or a highway or other public place with intent to intimidate; penalty, Code of Virginia. October 27, 2017.
  7. ^ Noose displays provoke new state penalties, June 6, 2008.
  8. ^ Svrluga, Susan (March 24, 2016). "Former Ole Miss student pleads guilty to hanging noose around statue honoring the first black student". Washington Post.
  9. ^ "2nd ex-Ole Miss student sentenced in statue vandalism". The Clarion-Ledger. Associated Press. Retrieved 2021-05-02.
  10. ^ Melendez, Pilar (September 3, 2019). "University of Illinois Student Charged With Hate Crime After Noose Found Hanging in Dorm Elevator: Officials". Daily Beast.
  11. ^ Staff, WICS/WRSP (2020-05-12). "Former U of I student pleads guilty in noose incident". WRSP. Retrieved 2021-05-02.
  12. ^ "'The noose was real': Nascar releases photo from Bubba Wallace's garage". the Guardian. Associated Press. 2020-06-25. Retrieved 2021-08-12.
  13. ^ "FBI determines Wallace not victim of hate crime". 2020-06-23. Retrieved 2021-08-12.
  14. ^ "NASCAR's regret over the Bubba Wallace noose situation". Beyond the Flag. 2021-01-01. Retrieved 2021-08-12.
  15. ^ Jr, Holman W. Jenkins (2020-06-26). "Opinion | Bubba Wallace and the 'Noose' That Wasn't". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2021-08-12.