Tine (structural)

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A three-tine pitchfork

Tines or prongs are parallel or branching spikes forming parts of various tools and natural objects.[1] They may be used to spear, hook, move or otherwise act on other objects. They may be made of metal, wood, bone or other hard, strong material.

The number of tines (also written tynes) on tools varies widely – a pitchfork may have just two, a garden fork may have four, and a rake or harrow many. Tines may be blunt, such as those on a fork used as an eating utensil, or sharp, such as those on a pitchfork, or even barbed, as on a trident. The terms "tine" and "prong" are mostly interchangeable.

Tines and prongs occur in nature, for example forming the branched bony antlers of deer or the forked horns of pronghorn antelopes. The term "tine" is also used for mountains, the most well-known perhaps being the fictional Silvertine in The Lord of the Rings.

In chaos theory (physics, non-linear dynamics), the branches of a bifurcation diagram are called tines and subtines.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Oxford English Dictionary Second Edition on CD-ROM (v. 4.0) © Oxford University Press 2009. Tine, n. 1.