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]
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