- a device consisting essentially of one or more hooks or clamps, for grasping or holding something; grapple; grappling iron.
- a small anchor with three or more flukes, used for grappling or dragging or for anchoring a small boat, as a skiff.
Origin of grapnel
1325–75; Middle English grapnel(l), diminutive of Old French grapin, diminutive of grape hook, grape
Also called grapeline, grap·lin, grap·line [grap-lin] /ˈgræp lɪn/.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for grapnel
In silence he helped the Capataz to get the grapnel on board.Nostromo: A Tale of the Seaboard
They slept fairly and, at daybreak, got up the grapnel and hoisted the sail again.Under Wellington's Command
G. A. Henty
To my great delight, over came the grapnel, nearly falling on our heads.
We thought we could get over this difficulty by wrapping the grapnel in cotton wool.
Rectus carried the rope, and I had the grapnel, wrapped in its cotton wool.
- a device with a multiple hook at one end and attached to a rope, which is thrown or hooked over a firm mooring to secure an object attached to the other end of the rope
- a light anchor for small boats
C14: from Old French grapin a little hook, from grape a hook; see grape
Word Origin and History for grapnel
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper