A rope with a loop at one end. The loop is placed around the neck of someone in order to hang them. Used as both a form or execution and suicide because of its simplicity and efficiency.

How to tie the Traditional Hangman's Noose
Hold the line in your left hand and make an overhand loop. Starting at the bottom of the loop, take the running end and wind it up around the loop, moving towards the standing part. I've always been told that the Traditional Hangman's Noose is wound around the loop thirteen times, but I have no idea if it's really true or just an urban legend. When you start to run out of running end of the line, slip it through the top loop. The tighten the top loop by pulling on the left side of the bottom loop.

While many knots throughout history have been used for hanging, the Hangman's Noose is the best known and the most common today. Previous knots killed by strangulation or decapitation whereas the Hangman's knot kills by breaking the neck. This is largely because of the wrapping on the knot which will not flex when pulled, providing a solid point for the neck to break against. This more 'merciful' knot was the preferred method of execution until it was replaced by electrocution in the late 19th century and lethal injection in the latter half of the 20th century.

With the last execution by hanging in the United States taking place on January 25, 1996 and only two states (New Hampshire and Washington) currently allowing hanging as a method of execution, the noose has become more of a symbol of racism than an actual means of execution. The thousands of lynchings in the post-war and Jim Crow South had a deep impact on the image of the noose in America and today it is most strongly associated with hate crimes.

Tying a noose is actually rather simple when compared to other knots. Because it is a kind of slipknot, the Hangman's noose is not useful for much other than it's morbid name would suggest though it has been modified to attach fishing tackle to a line.

To start, make a simple loop in your rope (1): it can be overhand or underhand (it's underhand in the illustration). Make sure you leave quite a bit of rope on the working end (the end which you'll actually be using to tie the knot; X in the illustration) so that you have enough rope to work with when you get to the end. The knot itself isn't affected at all if you have too much rope left over but you generally want to keep the extra to a minimum.

| | (1)       | | (2)           | | (3)         | | (4)
| |____       | |____           | |____         | |____
| | __ \      | | __ \          | | __ \        | |___ \____
| |/  \ \     | |/  \ \         | |/__\ \___   |______\ \___X
| |   | |     | |   | |         |/ ___| |___X  |__________|
| |   | |     | |   | |         / /   | |      |__________|
| |   | |     | |   | |        | /|   | |      |__________|
| |   | |    |______________X  |__________|    |__________|
| |   | |    |__________|      |__________|    |__________|
| |   | |    |__________|      |__________|     | |   | |
| |   | |    |__________|      |__________|     | |   | |
| |   | |    |__________|      |__________|     | |   | |
|\ \__/ /      \ \__/ /          \ \__/ /        \ \__/ /
| \____/        \____/            \____/          \____/
| |                          
|X|                       

Now take the working end and wrap it around the loop starting at the bottom and wrapping upwards (2). According to folklore you wrap it thirteen times but this makes the knot impractical to tie and handle. Each wrap increases the friction in the knot, making it harder to slide down the rope, however, the intended uses of a noose generally require it to slide somewhat easily so six to eight wraps should be enough to provide some resistance but still allow ease of sliding.

Once you've wrapped the working end around the loop, the knot should have a smaller loop on the top and bottom of the wraps with the working end closest to the top (2). Now thread the working end through the loop at the top (3). To tighten the knot, pull on the open loop at the bottom—this closes the loop at the top, cinching the working end down against the wraps and preventing it from coming undone (4).

Noose (?), n. [Prob. fr. OF. nous, nom. sing. or acc. pl. of nou knot, F. nud, L. nodus. Cf. Node.]

A running knot, or loop, which binds the closer the more it is drawn.

 

© Webster 1913.


Noose (?), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Noosed (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Noosing.]

To tie in a noose; to catch in a noose; to entrap; to insnare.

 

© Webster 1913.

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