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[tres-uh l] /ˈtrɛs əl/
a frame typically composed of a horizontal bar or beam rigidly joined or fitted at each end to the top of a transverse A-frame, used as a barrier, a transverse support for planking, etc.; horse.
Civil Engineering.
  1. one of a number of bents, having sloping sides of framework or piling, for supporting the deck or stringers of a bridge.
  2. a bridge made of these.
1300-50; Middle English trestel < Middle French, by dissimilation from Old French trestreLatin trānstrum crossbeam Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for trestles
  • His photographs of railroad sheds, tunnels, and trestles convey an industrial eloquence.
  • The paved and gravel path winds through wooded areas and crosses multiple railroad trestles.
  • The train is a sort of mechanical mountain goat, balancing on trestles and steep rock walls far above deep gorges.
  • It was not so easy to keep it out on the fills as on the trestles.
  • The bridge sustained its own dead weight until wooden trestles were placed in the river where the masonry support had been.
  • Look at the old railroad trestles and gorgeous wildflowers.
  • Railroad grades and trestles that had withstood a century of storms were washed away.
  • The contractor has made progress on the three different trestles they need for building the bridge foundations.
  • The trusses were approached by trestles on both shores.
British Dictionary definitions for trestles


a framework in the form of a horizontal member supported at each end by a pair of splayed legs, used to carry scaffold boards, a table top, etc
  1. a braced structural tower-like framework of timber, metal, or reinforced concrete that is used to support a bridge or ropeway
  2. a bridge constructed of such frameworks
Word Origin
C14: from Old French trestel, ultimately from Latin trānstrumtransom
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for trestles



early 14c., "a support for something," from Old French trestel "crossbeam" (12c.), presumed to be an alteration of Latin *transtellum, diminutive of transtrum "beam, crossbar." Specific meaning "support for a bridge" is recorded from 1796.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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