Thief knot

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Thief knot
Diebesknoten 400px.jpg
Names Thief knot, Bag knot, Bread bag knot
Category Binding
Origin Ancient
Related Reef knot, Granny knot, Grief knot
Releasing jamming, but not always
Caveat spills
ABoK #1207

The Thief knot resembles the reef knot (square knot) except that the free, or bitter ends are on opposite sides. It is said that sailors would secure their belongings in a ditty bag using the thief knot, often with the ends hidden. If another sailor went through the bag, the odds were high the thief would tie the bag back using the more common reef knot, revealing the tampering, hence the name. It is difficult to tie by mistake, unlike the granny knot.

The thief knot is much less secure than the already insecure reef knot. It unties itself if the lines are pulled when the same action would seize a reef knot.[1]


Tying the thief knot step-by-step

Related knots[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ashley, Clifford Warren (1950). The Ashley Book of Knots. Doubleday. p. 221.  (knot number 1207)

External links[edit]