What does strut mean? Where I can apply the word? Is it a strut?

I need to know what you call the things in the picture and what strut means. Are those struts in the picture?

  • 2
    What did a dictionary tell you? What about that definition leaves you confused?
    – Kat
    Feb 9 '19 at 20:17
  • I was more curious about the legs, so didn't know what to google. Just had the word "strut" in my head (dunno why) so first thought that they might be struts. So googled 'struts' and found only some stuff, I guess, for car's engine. Feb 9 '19 at 21:53

I might call these the legs of the board or whatever the object is called. The stand would be the entire standing apparatus, perhaps, but certainly "the legs" is the best way.


I think the strut is actually the horizontal metal strip between the two sides of the board. It keeps the two sides from pressing back together.

A strut is a structural piece designed to resist pressure in the direction of its length.

It seems there is some debate if the piece I refer to is 100% technically a strut--I have always heard it referred to that way, and believe that in colloquial usage it would be an appropriate word. But it seems if you're writing for a technical description, it may not be appropriate.

  • 3
    I've edited my response. But the question did ask about struts: it said "what does strut mean, where can I apply the word and is it a strut in the picture"
    – Katy
    Feb 8 '19 at 19:40

The picture shows a board in a frame and this is attached to an A-frame structure.

A-frame structures for this usage (holding up a board) have legs.

struts are not relevant here. Struts are cross-beams, therefore, usually horizontal, used in the construction industry to strengthen vertical loads and also on guitar necks to so different notes can be played. On guitars, struts are vertical.

Struts can also be found in certain pieces of furniture where they reinforce some structure. For examples, some beds have a frame made of wood with cross pieces called struts where a mattress is placed.

  • 5
    Struts don't have to be horizontal. They are rods (or similarly shaped things) designed to resist compression. For example, a modern car's suspension often has mostly vertical struts in its design. I guess you could call that board's legs and crossbars "struts", but most people would call them "legs" or "crossbars"
    – Flydog57
    Feb 8 '19 at 19:29
  • 1
    +1 for "Struts don't have to be horizontal". Feb 8 '19 at 20:07
  • 1
    Guitar bracing refers to the system of wooden struts which internally support and reinforce the soundboard and back of acoustic guitars. Wikipedia I did mix up struts and frets. Sorry.
    – Lambie
    Feb 8 '19 at 22:29
  • 3
    @Lambie Struts in mechanical engineering are not defined by to whether they are horizontal or vertical, but by the type of loads transmitted through them. Your attempt to define them and say what they are used for is completely wrong. The parts that support the mattress on a bed are not struts at all so far as an engineer is concerned, but beams which resist bending caused by the weight of the mattress and the occupants of the bed, not tension or compression.
    – alephzero
    Feb 9 '19 at 13:38
  • 5
    I’ve always called those cross pieces under a mattress slats, not struts.
    – J.R.
    Feb 9 '19 at 13:56

The engineering definition of a "strut" is simply a component which has a compressive force acting along its length.

That definition certainly applies to the parts of your frame marked with the arrows. In contrast, it does NOT apply to the horizontal links between the two boards, which are in tension not compression. An engineer would call those parts "ties".

However, non-engineers would describe the arrowed parts as "legs," not "struts," just like the "legs" of a chair or a table.

  • 2
    I think your last point may be the most relevant for the learner, and I’d like to add to it: the word strut is not used very often when referring to parts of everyday items such as folding signs, folding chairs, or easels. Instead, we’re more likely to hear terms such as legs, hinge, or latch. Maybe an engineer can’t find a strut in the picture, but I also agree with Katy’s point: colloquially, many non-engineers might call something a strut even when it isn’t technically a strut – but that goes back to how the word isn’t common and most people don’t know much about what struts do.
    – J.R.
    Feb 9 '19 at 14:00

In common non-engineering American English, the main familiar usage for this meaning of strut is as part of the suspension in cars, since they need service/replacement from time to time. Keep in mind strut, as a noun or verb, can also be used for a particular way of walking, and this meaning is probably more familiar.

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