Thief Knot

Thief KnotUsage: The Thief Knot resembles the Reef Knot except that the free, or working, ends are on diagonally opposite sides. It is said that sailors would secure their belongings in a ditty bag using the Thief Knot, often with the ends hidden. If another sailor went through the bag, the odds were high the thief would tie the bag back using the more common Reef Knot, revealing the tampering, hence the name.

Also known as:

  • Bag Knot
  • Bread Bag Knot


  • Reef/Square Knot
  • Granny Knot
  • Grief Knot

ABOK: 1207

Classification: Binding

Structure: When correctly tied, the two tails lie on diagonally opposite sides. When the tails lie on the same side, the knot is the more familiar Reef/Square Knot.

Strength/Reliability: The Thief Knot is much less secure than the already insecure Reef/Square Knot and can easily come untied.


Comments are closed.