Rope has been around for a while, from sailing to bondage with a detour via macrame, this creates a huge legacy on the vocabulary. The more foundational concepts tend to have acquired many names, and sometimes the same word can have different meanings from one community to another. For the sake of simplicity, we try to stick to one term per concept while mentioning alternate names. Which one was chosen is often a subjective choice and is a reflection of the period of time these texts were written. Language is fluid and continues to evolve.
Looking for more words? Use the search feature of the website to find references or check other glossaries listed at the bottom! Language is in constant evolution, if you’d like to see more words or add to a definition, put a note in the comments!
- Bight – U-shaped arc of rope, usually the middle
- Tail – The part of the rope away from the bight that we haven’t tied with yet
- Loop – When the rope crosses itself to make a circle
- Overhand knot – Simple stopper knot made by passing the one end of the rope through a loop
These are the only words you truly need to navigate Rope365! Feel free to skip ahead to Spring to get started with tying.
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.
Torment rope aka semenawa 責め縄 – To create intense sensations with rope, usually with pain, usually in a progressive way. See Torture
Predicament – A situation in which the different options will yield a negative outcome. In bondage, used to describe a tie where the person who is tied has agency, but only between painful, difficult or “bad” options. See Predicaments
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, aka Han-dzuri 半吊り.
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. See Improvisation
Hojōjutsu 捕縄術, aka Torinawa jutsu 捕縄術 – A traditional Japanese martial art of restraining a person using ropes. See Prisonner Ties
Pillar tie aka Hashira 柱 – Tying someone to a vertical post
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.
Self-Tyer – Someone who ties themselves
Rigger – Someone who ties, also used in other fields like circus, animation and the nautical world where it has a strong sense of rope, knots and suspension.
Bunny, rope bunny – Someone that likes to get tied up. Contentious word as it is considered to be a reference to the Playboy bunny.
Nawashi 縄師, Bakushi 縛師, Kinbakushi 脇晒し – A person who ties with proficiency. Generally used for professionals.
Munch – A social activity for kinky people in a vanilla (non-kinky) setting.
Rope Con – A conference where several presenters are gathered to teach rope classes.
Bight – U-shaped arc of rope, 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 aka wakka 輪っか – When the rope crosses itself to make a circle.
Frictions – The action of rope wrapping around rope creating a structure. See Frictions.
Half hitch – A simple loop around another object and secured to its own standing part. See Half hitch.
Cinch, aka kannuki 閂 – When the rope goes between two columns and catches a rope on the other side. See Cinches.
Name of Ties
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 Frog Ties.
Chest harness, aka shinju 真珠 (pearl), munenawa 胸縄 (chest rope) – A tie on the chest without binding the arms. See Chest.
Strappado aka arm binder – A tie with both arms tied together parallel in the back. Arm binder is a more generic term and some will also include the arms tied parallel in the front in its definition. Some will argue that “strappado” specifically refers to a variation where the arms are pulled away from the body like in the medieval torture of the same name. See Hands behind the back.
Reverse prayer tie, aka ushirote kannon shibari 後手観音縛り (Back kannon tie) – A tie with the palm together in the back pointing up. There are also variations with the hands in front. See Hands in the Back.
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. When the hands are flopping to the front, is often called T-Rex, and when the elbows are pulled further back, is referred to as Angel pose or Tenshi. See Frog Ties Assembling Ties and Elbow Ties.
Hip Harness, aka koshi-nawa 腰縄 – A structure around the hips. See Hips and Butts.
Butterfly pose aka bound angle pose, throne pose, cobbler’s pose, or ashiura awase shibari 足裏合わせ縛り (tie with the soles together) – Position with the soles of the feet against each other. See Lower Body Structure.
Seiza 正座 – Traditional way of sitting in Japan, kneeling, sitting on the feet. See Sitting and Kneeling.
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 Hog Ties.
- Exhaustive List of Rope Definitions by ShiBeary
- 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
- What is Shibari? by Amatsunawa
Or return to Getting Started for more options.
Credit: R/P: Ebi McKnotty