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sheepshank

[sheep-shangk] /ˈʃipˌʃæŋk/
noun
1.
a kind of knot, hitch, or bend made on a rope to shorten it temporarily.
Origin
1635-1645
1635-45; short for sheepshank knot; literal sense unclear
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for sheep-shank

sheepshank

/ˈʃiːpˌʃæŋk/
noun
1.
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
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Word Origin and History for sheep-shank
n.

also sheepshank, 1670s, "leg of a sheep," from sheep + shank (n.). A type of something lank, slender, or weak. Attested earlier in transferred sense of "type of sailor's knot used to shorten a rope without cutting it" (1620s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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