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A noose is a loop at the end of a rope in which the knot tightens under load and can be loosened without. The knot can be used to secure a rope to a post or pole, but only where the end is in a position that the loop can be passed over.

A noose knot tied in kernmantle rope
NamesNoose, running knot
RelatedSlip knot, hangman's knot, running bowline, arbor knot
Typical useAnimal snares, knitting, self tightening end loop



The knot is tied by forming a loop in the end of a rope, and then passing a bight of the standing end through the loop. The noose knot is a slipped version of the overhand knot.

Use in hangingEdit

The knot most closely associated with execution is the hangman's knot, which is also known as the "hangman's noose." Tying is similar to the original noose, but several turns are wrapped around the loop. The reason for this was to make the hanging more humane, as it would break the person's neck, killing them instantly, rather than strangling them to death.

Use in intimidationEdit

In the United States, a noose is sometimes left as a message in order to intimidate people, as it was the main object used in segregation era lynchings.[2][3] It is illegal to display a noose in a threatening manner in Virginia,[4] New York and Connecticut.[5]

Austin Reed Edenfield, a former student of the University of Mississippi, pled guilty in 2016 to a federal civil-rights crime, acknowledging that he and another man had tied a noose and a Confederate flag around the neck of a statue honoring James Meredith, the university's first African-American student.[6]

See alsoEdit

Further readingEdit

  • Jack Shuler, The Thirteenth Turn: A History of the Noose, Public Affairs, 2014, ISBN 9781610391368