Need equivalents for these two Spanish terms:

cazar Tirar y acortar la ‘parte útil’ de un cabo, con el fin de aumentar su tensión.

??? To pull and shorten gradually the ‘useful portion’ of a rope in order to increase its tension.

filar Soltar gradualmente un cabo alargando su ‘parte útil’ con el fin de disminuir su tensión.

pay out? To lengthen gradually a rope increasing its ‘useful portion’ in order to decrease its tension.

At least in Spanish the terms are very versatile, they can be used for the sail ropes as well as the anchor rope, etc. I only could find a supposed equivalent for the second term but not for the first one, I searched ‘pay in’ without any useful result. Would be glad if someone who knows could answer this.

  • 3
    Did you consider "take in"?
    – Robusto
    Commented Jul 23, 2023 at 23:41
  • I'd use tighten, pull tight, or pull taut for the first, but they're not nautical terms. Is it just pulling by hand rather than a ratchet or other mechanism?
    – Stuart F
    Commented Jul 23, 2023 at 23:59
  • @StuartF The two terms are nautical, but also are very versatile in all possible sense, it could be by hand, ratchet or any mechanism
    – tac
    Commented Jul 24, 2023 at 0:05
  • @Robusto — I don't know about take in. I think of that (in sailing anyway) as something you do to a sail. Yes, you use a rope to take in a sail, but you don’t say ”take in the rope”. Commented Jul 24, 2023 at 0:52
  • @TinfoilHat And how do you say? Note also that in Spanish both terms can be used either to a rope or a sail
    – tac
    Commented Jul 24, 2023 at 1:11

1 Answer 1


According to Glossary of Nautical Terms: English – Spanish / Spanish – English by the The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, cazar means to tighten.

Also there: filar/dar linea means pay out (a line).

In plain English, we can certainly understand to tighten (remove slack from) a rope. But if the captain yells “Reef the main!” — you’re going to need to know quite a bit more than plain English to comply.

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