The half hitch is a simple overhand knot, where the working end of a line is brought over and under the standing part. Insecure on its own, it is a valuable component of a wide variety of useful and reliable hitches, bends, and knots.

Half hitch
Half hitch.jpg
A half hitch tied around a pole
RelatedTwo half-hitches, Clove hitch, Munter hitch, single hitch
Typical useAs part of other knots
ABoK#50, #1662, #1026, #1717, #1780

46. The overhand is the simplest of the single-strand stopper knots, and is tied with one end around its own standing part, its purpose being to prevent unreeving.
47. The half knot is a binding knot, being the first movement of the reef or square knot. It is tied with two ends around an object and is used when reefing, furling, and tying up parcels, shoestrings, and the like.
48. The half hitch is tied with one end of a rope which is passed around an object and secured to its own standing part with a single hitch.

Two successive half hitches tied around an object makes up the common clove hitch. Two successive half hitches tied around the standing part of a rope is known as two half-hitches or double half hitch.[2]

One instance where a half hitch stands on its own without additional embellishment is when added to a timber hitch to help stabilize a load in the direction of pull. A timber hitch is tied on the far end of the load to bind it securely and a half hitch made at the forward end to serve as a guide for the rope. In this instance, the half hitch combined with a timber hitch is known as a killick hitch or kelleg hitch.[3]

The knot is attractive to the eye and so is used decoratively for French whipping which is also known as half hitch whipping.[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Ashley, Clifford W. (1944). The Ashley Book of Knots, p.14. Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-04025-3.
  2. ^ "The Misunderstood Clove Hitch". Retrieved 2013-06-17.
  3. ^ "Favorite Pioneering Knots: Timber Hitch". Retrieved 2013-06-17.
  4. ^ Andrew Adamides, "Half Hitch", Knots, pp. 62–63, ISBN 978-1-905765-07-2