AskDefine | Define straightedge

Dictionary Definition

straightedge n : hand tool consisting of a flat rigid rectangular bar (metal or wood) that can be used to draw straight lines (or test their straightness)

User Contributed Dictionary


Alternative spellings


  1. Living one's life against/without the use of alcohol, smoking, and illegal drugs.


  1. A tool which is flat, rectangular and commonly made of wood, metal or plastic and is used to draw, cut or check the straightness of straight lines.

Extensive Definition

For the subculture, see Straight edge.
A straightedge is a tool similar to a ruler, but without markings.

Compass-and-straightedge construction

An idealized straightedge is used in compass-and-straightedge constructions in plane geometry. It may be used:
  • Given two points, to draw the line connecting them.
  • Given a point and a circle, to draw either tangent.
  • Given two circles, to draw any of their common tangents.
It may not be marked or used together with the compass so as to transfer the length of one segment to another.
It is possible to do all compass and straightedge constructions without the straightedge. That is, it is possible, using only a compass, to find the intersection of two lines given two points on each, and to find the tangent points to circles. It is not, however, possible to do all constructions using only a straightedge. It is possible to do them with straightedge alone given one circle and its center.


  • Wayne R. Moore, Foundations of Mechanical Accuracy, Moore Special Tool Company, Bridgeport, CT (1970)

External links

straightedge in German: Haarlineal
straightedge in Persian: ستاره (ریاضی)
straightedge in Swedish: Rätskiva
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