1. Any utensil or vessel, as a stool, table, altar, caldron, etc, supported on three feet.

On such, a stool, in the temple of Apollo at Delphi, the Pythian priestess sat while giving responses to those consulting the Delphic oracle.

2. A three-legged frame or stand, usually jointed at top, for supporting a theodolite, compass, telescope, camera, or other instrument.

<physiology> Tripod of life, or Vital tripod, the three organs, the heart, lungs, and brain; so called because their united action is necessary to the maintenance of life.

Origin: L. Tripus, -odis, Gr.; (see Tri-) +, foot. See Foot, and cf. Tripos, Trivet.

(01 Mar 1998)

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