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From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Grapnel \Grap"nel\, n. [OE. grapenel, dim. fr. F. grappin the grapple of a ship; of German origin. See Grape.] (Naut.) A small anchor, with four or five flukes or claws, used to hold boats or small vessels; hence, any instrument designed to grapple or hold; a grappling iron; a grab; -- written also grapline, and crapnel. [1913 Webster]