Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A metal stand with short feet, used under a hot dish on a table.
  • n. A three-legged stand made of metal, used for supporting cooking vessels in a hearth.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a stand with three short legs, especially for cooking over a fire
  • n. a stand, sometimes with short, stumpy feet, used to support hot dishes and protect a table; a hot coaster

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A tree-legged stool, table, or other support; especially, a stand to hold a kettle or similar vessel near the fire; a tripod.
  • n. A weaver's knife. See Trevat.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A three-footed stool or stand; a tripod; especially, an iron tripod on which to place cooking-vessels or anything which is to be kept hot by the fire.
  • n. In heraldry, a bearing representing the three-legged iron support used in cooking.
  • n. A knife for cutting the loops of terry fabrics, such as velvets or Wilton carpets, in which the looped warp is formed over wires in the shed.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a stand with short feet used under a hot dish on a table
  • n. a three-legged metal stand for supporting a cooking vessel in a hearth

Etymologies

Middle English trevet, stand for cooking vessels, from Old English trefet, probably alteration (influenced by Old English thrifēte, three-footed) of Latin tripēs, triped- : tri-, tri- + pēs, foot.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Old English trefet, from Latin tripes, ‘tripod’. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • A trivet is a three-legged stand, able to remain steady on any surface where a four-legged one would wobble.

    Weatherwatch: right as rain

  • Depicted on the trivet is a painting of DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. Pinkoski then sang

    The Daily Times News Headlines

  • As I mentioned in our prepared remarks around the dividend discussion we do have a fair amount of liquidity what I would call trivet (ph) on our balance sheet based on the mark-to-market adjustments and we now have access to a pretty sizeable amount of new capital through the Wachovia transactions.

    Financial Sector and Stocks Analysis from Seeking Alpha

  • The teakettle was brought in at breakfast, water was boiled by being set on a "trivet," over some coals of fire.

    The Use and Need of the Life of Carry A. Nation

  • According to American dictionaries, "trivet" is the standard word for an insulating ceramic or metal slab.

    Wired Campus

  • On "trivet", its original use (according to the OED) was for a tripod used to raise pots above fires.

    Wired Campus

  • For me, a "trivet" has feet of some sort, raising the item above the level of the table.

    Wired Campus

  • A seperate mold is made for every trivet which is this destroyed so once you've got one of these you can say that there are no others exactly like it!

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  • Two dragonflies hold the black handle on the top of the square teapot; two dragonflies grace the top of trivet and sides of teacups.

    Gentle Set | SciFi, Fantasy & Horror Collectibles

  • By the 19th century, Sam Weller says his understanding is "right as a trivet" in Charles Dickens' Pickwick Papers.

    Weatherwatch: right as rain

Comments

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  • We always called the ceramic tiles (with cork on the bottom, usually) trivets, too.

    May 10, 2011

  • Well, it's always a pleasure. Hope you can drift by more often. :-)

    April 5, 2010

  • I'm rather scarce these days, but I drift by ever once and a while...

    April 5, 2010

  • Trivet! Sorry about your burning ears, but good to see you here! Also: Hahaha! :-)

    April 2, 2010

  • Nooo, I only remember heatpad because I saw it written on a sign in a shop display recently. For heatpad/potholder underthingies.

    To me a trivet should definitely have legs ... circulation of air under the cooking vessel is part of the cooling process, yes?

    March 31, 2010

  • A heatpad is something you apply to some part of your body to alleviate pain. The potholder-trivet distinction is an important one because, while the expressionright as a trivet is a good and sensible simile, right as a potholder is just plain silly. As silly as a one-legged chafing dish in a thunderstorm.

    March 31, 2010

  • *rubbing her burning ears*

    If you haven't properly been introduced, "sir" or "ma'am" is usually a safe bet.

    March 31, 2010

  • I've also heard heatpad.

    March 31, 2010

  • The woven pads are called potholders.

    March 31, 2010

  • *waits for punchline*

    March 30, 2010

  • What do you call a trivet without legs? Ok, sounds like a bad joke but my family referred to anything you put under a hot dish or pan or pot (that is, anything bigger than a coaster) as a trivet. Looking at the pictures, where there are various woven pads and ceramic tiles, it seems to be a common usage.
    What should we properly call a legless trivet?

    March 30, 2010

  • Julie Andrews's memoir is full of crisp locutions like "poor unfortunate" and "banished to the scullery" and "trivet," a characteristically precise term that the dictionary defines as "an iron tripod placed over a fire for a cooking pot or kettle to stand on." — »

    March 29, 2008

  • A small iron stand on which to place a hot teapot or other receptacle.

    June 13, 2007