Cloth and leather (clothing, sails, trampolines, shoes, boots) often have holes through which to thread lacing or rope.
In many cases these holes are reinforced with a metal or plastic ring to prevent the lacing or rope tearing the underlying cloth or leather.
Some rings are a single piece (like a washer or grommet) sewn to the cloth. In other cases the ring has 2 parts that each go on a side of the cloth and are pressed together to mechanically interlock. For larger rings (e.g. on sails) the 2 halves are sometimes bolted or screwed together.

Is there a proper name or terminology for such rings? For lack of a better word I'm currently calling them grommets, but that doesn't feel right somehow.

1 Answer 1


Eyelet is pretty usual, but also see grommet which according to Wikipedia, covers much the same ground. I confess, I usually think of a grommet as protecting what goes through the hole, and eyelet as protecting the material the hole is made in but perhaps that's because of the context I've met them in (mainly electrical)

  • I make exactly the same distinction myself. Eyelets are there to protect the surrounding fabric from fraying, grommets are there to avoid sharp edges in the surrounding metal from cutting into whatever's intentionally passed through the hole, and/or prevent water and other crud from getting through. And studs in things like denim jeans are like eyelets without holes, used to permanently join multiple layers of fabric very strongly (press studs being two-part jobbies that can be undone like buttons). Feb 21, 2020 at 14:58
  • A sailing site I found says that a grommet has two parts, and is installed in a pre-punched hole, that very small grommets are sometimes called eyelets, and that "in the marine industry and beyond", generally an eyelet refers to a more specific style of hardware. Eyelets are one-part things, used in conjunction with brass rings, which are sewn over a pre-punched hole in fabric with waxed twine. Then the eyelet, often of soft brass, is pressed into the centre of the ring and locked in place using a setting die. The eyelet protects the twine, which is the strength of the assembly. Feb 21, 2020 at 18:59
  • I suspect some distinctions are field-specific. My daughter aged 6, was saved from deafness caused by 'glue-ear', by having what the doctor called 'grommets' inserted in her eardrums. Feb 21, 2020 at 19:01
  • @MichaelHarvey I'm starting to feel that you are right about terminology in this case being field-specific. And as Ian says if also depends which side needs the protection. So i'm accepting this answer.
    – Tonny
    Feb 22, 2020 at 9:35

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