In the Navy, the term “rope” refers to both fiber and wire. Fiber ropes can be natural or synthetic, the former made of natural materials such as manila or hemp, and the latter made of man-made materials such as nylon or polyester. Wire rope generally is stronger than fiber, but it is less flexible and can be difficult to handle.
The art of working with line or rope is called marlinespike seamanship, named for a handheld, spike-like tool used in working with wire rope, called a marlinespike. A similar tool used with fiber is called a fid.
Like in so many nautical topics, the terms used in marlinespike seamanship can be tricky. While there are certain “rules” of terminology, they sometimes overlap and are not absolute.