Definition of trestle in English:



  • 1A framework consisting of a horizontal beam supported by two pairs of sloping legs, used in pairs to support a flat surface such as a table top.

    • ‘Among the ship's fittings were lanterns with hinged and sliding doors as well as furniture, including stools, benches, folding stands, trestles and tables.’
    • ‘A trestle and Formica table lined one wall; polystyrene boxes of paints, pastels, coloured pencils sit on rough-sawn benches opposite.’
    • ‘Our little sitting room behind the shop was transformed into a card and calendar showroom, with trestles over the settee.’
    • ‘Those who arrive at Thekla can see little of the city, beyond the plank fences, the sackcloth screens, the scaffoldings, the metal armatures, the wooden catwalks hanging from ropes or supported by sawhorses, the ladders, the trestles.’
    • ‘We heard the tables being broken down, then the dragging and scraping of the trestles against the stone floor.’
    • ‘Like the beekeeper taking his stand in the garden, it requires the prolonged use of miniaturized verbal trestles that can be dismantled once the swarm has gone.’
    • ‘All the tables were ready-set on their trestles, and the walls hung with fresh-cut greenery and flowering branches.’
    • ‘In ‘New Music’ a writer gets up an hour before her husband and children to work at her computer in a makeshift sewing room, the table a cheap plywood door laid on trestles.’
    • ‘The oxen are represented by paired trestles, one of steel, the other wood.’
    • ‘Nathaniel Faithburn's body is there, on the bier, placed on trestles in the centre of the room.’
    • ‘The serving men were clearing the last of the cups, and the Danes themselves began to take the tables off their trestles and to bring in the pallets from the passageway.’
    • ‘In a record time of 43 seconds, they cut off a piece of the log, not minding that the sawing trestle almost capsized.’
    • ‘There are also animal images, such as a large ducklike sculpture fashioned from a trestle, some pipes and tubing, a piece of carpet and a few bits of wood.’
    • ‘Resting, appropriately, on mortuary trestles, the piece is a kind of reliquary for the doomed 1854 vessel that was designed to lay the first transatlantic telegraph cable.’
    • ‘Both lead to a cobblelock patio area and a winding path through the long narrow garden, which is planted with flowers and shrubs and features some attractive rose trestles.’
    • ‘Closely related to these was the exhibition's main event, a line of 26 small bronze figures marching down a long wooden tabletop set on metal trestles.’
    1. 1.1
      short for trestle table
      • ‘City leisure chiefs plan to have around 50 per cent of the market stalls made in a traditional German style with wooden trestles and canopies.’
      • ‘While most beekeepers prefer to raise their hives on stands or trestles at least a metre off the ground to keep them out of reach of the badgers, they can also be secured on the ground with metal straps, pallets or wire.’
      • ‘Little baskets of strawberries are piled on trestles at farm gates.’
      • ‘What you see on the loaded trestles and sagging stalls, lining the waterfront here, will end up on a thousand restaurant tables by the end of the day.’
      • ‘I even quite like the ostentatiously distressed trestles and folding chairs they use outside, and the formulaic battered club chairs in the window.’
    2. 1.2An open braced framework used to support an elevated structure such as a bridge.
      • ‘He hadn't immediately recognized the purpose of the pairs of gleaming metal rails which ran down long ramps and intricately braced trestle bridges from several dark openings in the mountainside.’
      • ‘He climbed off the concrete supports for the trestle and onto the rocky island shore.’
      • ‘Half-drowsing in the train seat as dawn came, I looked out the window at a little sign before a trestle that identified the river it spanned.’
      • ‘The North Platte was bridged with a low, timber trestle built on cedar piling.’
      • ‘They built barrel bridges, roads, tramways, light railways, trenches, bunkers, pontoon bridges, trestle bridges and the Inglis Bridge.’
      • ‘Nearby, the engineers are also building a timber trestle bridge to allow year round access for Klaipeda's rural residents to cross a flood plain.’
      • ‘Construction through the rock and muskeg required many trestles.’
      • ‘Apparently no structures other than a trestle appeared on the branch to Ansted.’
      • ‘This included 80 lb. rail, more ballast, filling in trestles etc.’
      • ‘Eventually he came to the railroad trestles that crossed the Androscoggin River at the top of the falls over the small dam that focused water into the canal.’
      • ‘Towering flames burned conifer stands like prairie grass and came over the ridges, as one survivor recalled, with the sound of a thousand trains rushing over a thousand steel trestles.’
      • ‘Rouse told the jury that the Wine Train changed the trestle from a wood to a steel structure after it purchased it from Southern Pacific in the late 1980s.’
      • ‘Up ahead the engine rumbles across the trestle and clatters over the crossing tracks at State Line diamond.’
      • ‘It was after 4pm by now, and Puffing Billy had gone for the day, so I looked around for the road back to Belgrave, to see if I could beat the train to the trestle bridge, the one in all the postcards.’
      • ‘As the tiny White Bear managed to stage that, I would have thought the run across the trestle bridge could have been attempted by the technically superior Southwark Playhouse.’
      • ‘As the Union Pacific Railroad was being constructed, an elaborate trestle bridge was built across a large canyon in the West.’
      • ‘The bridge was the most important civil engineering aspect as streams and rivers were crossed by bird cage or trestle bridges of timber.’
      • ‘Just beyond the swamp we crossed the Warrior and Tombigbee rivers on high trestles.’
      • ‘Jaimie Todd's timbered design successfully evokes the world of the trestle bridge and the desolate prison.’
      • ‘In one of my common recurring nightmares as a child, I was riding with my family on a train that went off the end of an unfinished trestle bridge.’
    3. 1.3Each of a pair of horizontal pieces on a sailing ship's lower mast supporting the topmast.
      • ‘With the areas identified and a metal recycler found, 2005 should see the removal of old trestles out of Clew Bay.’


Middle English: from Old French trestel, based on Latin transtrum beam.