marlinspike

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See also: marlin spike

English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From marline +‎ spike.

Noun[edit]

marlinspike (plural marlinspikes)

  1. A tool, consisting of a pointed metal spike, used to manipulate the strands of rope or cable when knotting and splicing.
    • 1924, Herman Melville, Billy Budd, London: Constable & Co., Chapter 12, [1]
      [] the afterguard, of whom they have but a sorry opinion, chiefly landsmen, never going aloft except to reef or furl the mainsail and in no wise competent to handle a marlinspike or turn in a dead-eye, say.
    • 1962, Robert Hayden, "Middle Passage" in The Oxford Book of American Poetry edited by David Lehman, Oxford University Press, 2006, p. 585,
      There was / that interval of moonless calm filled only / with the water's and the rigging's usual sounds, / then sudden movement, blows and snarling cries / and they had fallen on us with machete / and marlinspike.

Translations[edit]