a stool, table, pedestal, etc., with three legs.
a three-legged stand or support, as for a camera or telescope.
the oracular seat of the priestess of Apollo at Delphi.

1595–1605; < Latin tripod- (stem of tripūs) < Greek tripod- (stem of trípous) orig., three-footed. See tri-, -pod Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To tripod
World English Dictionary
tripod (ˈtraɪpɒd)
1.  an adjustable and usually collapsible three-legged stand to which a camera, etc, can be attached to hold it steady
2.  a stand or table having three legs
[C17: via Latin from Greek tripod-, tripous three-footed, from tri- + pous foot]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

c.1600, "three-legged vessel," from L. tripus (gen. tripodis), from Gk. tripous (gen. tripodos) "a three-legged stool or table," lit. "three-footed," from tri- "three" + pous (gen. podos) "foot" (see foot).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Britannica


any piece of furniture with three legs. The word can apply to a wide range of objects, including stools, tables, light stands, and pedestals. The tripod was very popular in ancient and classical times, largely because it was associated with religious or symbolic rites in the form of an altar, a sacrificial basin, or the most celebrated tripod of all, the seat at Delphi upon which the Pythian priestess sat to deliver the oracles of the god Apollo. Underlying the tripod's association with such rites was perhaps a mystical significance attached to the number three. The idea of three being united in one could very well have influenced the widespread use of the tripod in Christian liturgical furniture such as candlesticks.

Learn more about tripod with a free trial on

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
If you jam the tripod deep into the snow, it will push the legs apart so far
  that they might break.
If you pair one of these little cameras with a small, flexible tripod you'll be
  good to go.
Nevertheless, the agencies' business is built upon a rather shaky tripod.
Sturdy aluminum tripod provides excellent vibration suppression.
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature