Smoke hole

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For the canyon in West Virginia, see Smoke Hole Canyon. For the caves in West Virginia, see Smoke Hole Caverns. For the community, see Smoke Hole, West Virginia.
A tipi of the Nez Perce tribe, circa 1900. The excess fabric at the top of the structure is the smoke hole and smoke flaps.

A smoke hole (smokehole, smoke-hole) is a hole in a roof for the smoke from a fire to vent.[1] Before the invention of the smoke hood or chimney, dwellings had smoke holes to allow the smoke from the hearth to escape.

Smoke holes in buildings[edit]

Smoke holes were often built in a way such they would not leak water such as with a covering or in the gables. In the Native American long house, smoke holes occur in intervallic square openings along the roof.

Smoke holes for tents[edit]

In Native American plains style tipi, the smoke hole consisted of one easily accessible smoke flap vent which was positioned around the apex of the interior beams and the flaps were extended outward on poles to open the vent. In modern ceremonial tipis this vent is in the traditional fashion.

Sami tents called a lavvu also have a smoke hole from which smoke from a campfire is vented out the top. Unlike the Native American tipi however, there are no smoke flaps, just a round hole at the top of the tent.


Slang usage[edit]

Smoke hole is also a colloquialism used by high-school students (and occasionally faculty) to the area in which the smoking of cigarettes is permitted.


  1. ^ "smoke-hole" def. 1. Oxford English Dictionary Second Edition on CD-ROM (v. 4.0) © Oxford University Press 2009

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