- a kind of knot, hitch, or bend made on a rope to shorten it temporarily.
Origin of sheepshank
First recorded in 1635–45; short for sheepshank knot; literal sense unclear
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for sheep-shank
Sheep-shank the stays and backstays, and set them hand-taut.The Seaman's Friend
Richard Henry Dana
But when you come to that sheep-shank and bowline upon the bight, as you term them, it grows confusing.Fighting in Cuban Waters
The purpose of a Sheep-shank is to take up slack or shorten a rope temporarily.
It is sometimes necessary to shorten a rope temporarily and not desirable to cut it, and the sheep-shank knot solves the problem.On the Trail
Lina Beard and Adelia Belle Beard
- a knot consisting of two hitches at the ends of a bight made in a rope to shorten it temporarily
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for sheep-shank
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper