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A marlinspike, or fid, is a nautical term; it's a tool used to separate the strands of a rope while splicing. It is a long smooth cone shaped piece of wood or metal.

If you look at a picture of a marlin -- a fish with a long pointed spike of a nose -- then it is clear where the name came from.

In the English translations of the Tintin books of Hergé, Captain Haddock's house, called Moulinsart in the French editions, is known as Marlinspike.

See also: Belaying Pin

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