Knowing the ropes

What does "Knowing the ropes" mean?

Today it means: Learn how things are done.

There is only one "rope" on a sailing ship. Rope is a generic term for lines, sheets, haulyards, out hauls, etc. etc. There could be 10 or more haulyards; one for each sail and they would all have a different name. "Knowing the ropes" was one of the most important things a sailor had to learn when he joined a ship.


By SailingQuiz September 2019   Category: Nautical Saying              

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There are 423 other nautical phrases, sayings and sailing terms listed on this website today. "Knowing the ropes" is just one of them. Many have been around for years and have entered our everyday use; but do you know what they mean and where they came from? This is where you find out.

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What does Knowing the ropes mean?

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Definition of the nautical phrase "Knowing the ropes".

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