What is the term for the open space on desks that chairs fit into? Is it just called a chair slot? A compartment for chairs?

Desk with a red circle on the opening underneath


3 Answers 3



  • an open space for the knees and legs, as under a desk.


Ngram : kneehole

From Whispers Along the Rails:

  • folded herself into the deep kneehole of Mr. Mahafferty's oak desk.............. After waiting several minutes, Olivia peeked around the edge of the kneehole before ...

From American Furniture:

  • the more open dressing table, the kneehole form does not provide much room for a sitter's knees. Contemporary paintings show owners sitting sideways to both forms,
  • 2
    Caveat to the OP: I've never heard that word spoken. If you asked 100 people on the street, What's a kneehole?, few if any would know.
    – TimR
    Commented Oct 1, 2016 at 9:50
  • @TRomano - you would probably refer to it as knee room under the desk, but kneehole is used also as a technical term, which is probably what OP is looking for.
    – user5267
    Commented Oct 1, 2016 at 10:11
  • or maybe the "chair recess".
    – TimR
    Commented Oct 1, 2016 at 11:36

A well on a piece of furniture would normaly be a sunken recess on the surface.An example would be the well on a joiners workbench running down the center of the bench or the ink well hole in an old school desk. What you are referencing would, to me, be more akin to a kneehole.


I know that I have read the term "well" used for exactly this meaning as in "the well of the desk" or "he hid in the well of the desk, out of sight from the door". However, I have not been able to find any online confirmation of this.

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