A monkey's fist or monkey paw is a type of knot, so named because it looks somewhat like a small bunched fist/paw. It is tied at the end of a rope to serve as a weight, making it easier to throw. The knot is usually tied around a small weight, such as a stone, marble.
The Monkey's Fist is used every day by ships, tugs and boats to carry a messenger line to a distant wharf or dock. A larger line is bent (sailing term for tie) on to the messenger line and hauled in. With one line secure the captain can complete the maneuver in control.
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