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[grap-nl] /ˈgræp nl/
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.
Also called grapeline, graplin, grapline
[grap-lin] /ˈgræp lɪn/ (Show IPA)
Origin of grapnel
1325-75; Middle English grapnel(l), diminutive of Old French grapin, diminutive of grape hook, grape Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for grapnel
  • They board from under the stern, out of sight of the bridge, by throwing a grapnel up to the rail and climbing up the rope.
  • In this method, the receiving aircraft trailed a long horizontal line with a grapnel at the end.
  • The use of a grapnel would only be required to locate a potential fault in buried sections of the route.
British Dictionary definitions for grapnel


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
Word Origin
C14: from Old French grapin a little hook, from grape a hook; see grape
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
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Word Origin and History for grapnel

"small hook," late 14c., Anglo-French diminutive of grapon, from Old French grapil, grapin "hook," diminutive of grape "hook" (see grape). Earlier form was grapel (see grapple).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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