Rope bondage has been evolving for many years and the rope community has borrowed words from many other crafts and developed its own jargon. The language used is different from one region to another and it’s easy to get lost in translation. This section aims to be a collection of common words, some synonyms with some of the different definitions used in the rope world. Language is in constant evolution, if you’d like to see more words or add to a definition, put a note in the comments!
- Shibari 縛り– A conjugation of the verb Shibaru “to tie” in Japanese. Generally refers to erotic Japanese rope bondage when used in English.
- Kinbaku 緊縛 – Literally tight binding in Japanese, and refers to erotic rope bondage in Japanese. It is generally considered as a synonym of shibari when used in English.
- Floorwork aka newaza 寝技 – Method of tying that is done on the floor (or other surfaces such as a bed) that do not require an overhead suspension structure.
- Suspension, aka tsuri 吊り– Method of tying that uses an overhead structure in order to lift the person up. When the person tied is still in contact with the floor, it is referred to as partial suspension.
- Ichinawa 一縄 (best rope), Ipponnawa 一本縄 (one rope) – Tying with one rope. Usually refers to tying in a sensual way although it can be used in other ways.
- Hojōjutsu 捕縄術, aka Torinawa jutsu 捕縄術 – A traditional Japanese martial art of restraining a person using ropes. See Prisonner Ties
People, Roles and Community
- Top – Someone doing something to someone else, often used for the person tying.
- Bottom – Someone receiving something from someone else, often used for the person being tied.
- Switch – Someone who can play both roles, to top or to bottom.
- Nawashi 縄師, Bakushi 縛師, Kinbakushi 脇晒し – A person who ties with proficiency. Generally used for professionals.
- Rigger – Someone who ties, also used in other fields like circus and the nautical world where it has a strong sense of rope, knots and suspension.
- Munch – A social activity for kinky people in a vanilla (non-kinky) location.
- Rope Con – A conference where several presenters are gathered to teach rope classes.
- Bight – An open loop, usually refers to the middle of a rope folded in half.
- Tail, aka nawajiri 縄尻, standing end, working end, running end – The part of the rope that we haven’t tied with yet. Note that in the knot world, working end and running end refers to the short end that we are tying with, while the standing end is the long end.
- Loop – When the rope crosses itself to make a circle.
- Hitches – Knots used to bind a rope to an object or another rope.
- Cinch, aka kannuki 閂 – When the rope goes between two columns and catches a rope on the other side. See Day 6.
- Crossing hitch, aka nodome の止め, Munter hitch – A type of friction that holds two ropes crossing in place. It is often called Munter hitch, which is a similar belay technique in climbing. See Day 10 and Day 11.
Name of Ties
- Single column tie – A loop held in place by a knot so it will not tighten used to tie around something, usually a limb. See Single Column Tie and More Single Column Ties.
- Chest harness aka shinju 真珠 (pearl), munenawa 胸縄 (chest rope) – A tie on the chest without binding the arms. See Chest.
- Frog tie, aka futomomo shibari 太腿縛り – A tie that holds a leg folded by tying the calf and the thigh together. See Week 3.
- Box tie aka ushiro takate kote shibari 後ろ高手 小手縛り (tie with the hands high in the back), gote shibari 後手縛り (tie with the hands in the back), munenawa 胸縄 (chest rope), TK (short for Takate Kote) – A classic tie with the hands in the back. See Week 5 and Week X.
- Hogtie, aka gyaku ebi shibari 逆海老縛 (reverse shrimp tie) – A tie with the ankles and the wrists tied in the back. See Week 6.
- Shrimp tie, aka ebi shibari 海老繰り, ebizeme 海老責め – A tie with the ankles tied to the neck or chest to bend the person forward. It was one of the four torture techniques from the Edo period. See Day 14 and Day X.
- Cross-legged pose aka agura shibari 胡座縛り – A structure tied on the leg crossed. See Day 4 and Day X.
- Hip Harness, aka koshi-nawa 腰縄 – A structure around the hips. See Day X.
- Crotch rope aka matanawa 股縄 – Rope that goes between the legs. See Day 13 and Week X.
- Diamond pattern, aka Hishi 菱 – A tie that creates lozenge shapes on the body. More specifically the chest diamond tie is often called karada 体 (body) or kikkou 亀甲 (turtle shell) for a variation with hexagons. See Day 17, Day 25, Day X and Day X.
- Bunny ears, aka waki zarashi 脇晒し (exposed armpit), pillow tie – A tie with the wrists behind the head and both elbows pointing up. See Day 28 and Day X.
- Riffle tie, aka teppo shibari 鉄砲縛り – An asymmetric tie with one elbow pointing up and the other arm behind the back. See Day 28 and Day X.
- Demon tie, aka tengu shibari 天狗縛り– A tie with the two wrists on each sides of the shoulders with the elbows pointing down. See Day X and Day 28.
- Kimono tie, aka tasuki shibari 襷縛り – A variant of the box tie with an X shape. The name refers to the tasuki, a cord used to hold the sleeves of a kimono in place that forms an X in the back. Sometimes used for a variant with an X in the back, or an X in front. See Day X.
- Glossario by Andrea
- Japanese Rope Bondage Terms by loach
- Kinbaku vocabulary on Kinbakunomicon by Faviola Llervu
- Glossary for Japanese Shibari / Kinbaku / Bondage by Tatu
- Glossary by RopeMarks
- Knot terminology by Animated knots
Or return to Resources to explore different knowledge sources.