stile n : an upright that is a member in a door or window frame
- Rhymes: -aɪl
EtymologyOld English stiġel
- a set of steps surmounting a fence, or a narrow gate or contrived passage through a fence, which in either case allows people but not livestock to pass.
- a vertical component of a panel or frame, such as that of a door or window.
A stile is a pair of steps or ladders on rural footpaths, designed to let walkers through but not animals. Stiles are often found in rural areas or along footpaths and allow access to a field or other area enclosed by a fence or wall or hedge. Unlike a gate, there is no chance of forgetting to close it, but they may well be difficult to use for some disabled people and people with limited mobility.
In the UK many stiles were built under legal compulsion. For that reason a wide variety of designs exist - some with the intention of being difficult to use. Recent changes in UK government policy towards farming has encouraged landowners in upland areas to make their land more available to the public, and this has seen an increase in the number of stiles and an improvement in their overall condition. However, on popular paths, stiles are increasingly replaced by kissing gates - or, where the field is arable, the stile can be removed altogether, as there are no longer any animals to control!
Stiles also sometimes have a 'dog latch' or 'dog gate' to the side of them, which can be lifted to enable a dog to get through (see pictures below).
Other usesIn woodworking, a stile is part of a frame and panel construction technique using two vertical boards that, together with the horizontal rails, make up a paneled door, sash window or chest of drawers.
The stile also lends its name to the title character in the Apprentice Adept series, by Piers Anthony.
French door, Samson post, archway, back door, back stairs, baluster, balustrade, banister, barway, bulkhead, carriage entrance, cellar door, cellarway, companion, companionway, door, doorjamb, doorpost, doorway, escalier, fire escape, flight of steps, front door, gate, gatepost, gateway, hatch, hatchway, hitching post, incline, jamb, king post, landing, landing stage, lintel, milepost, mullion, perron, porch, portal, porte cochere, post, postern, propylaeum, pylon, ramp, scuttle, side door, signpost, snubbing post, spiral staircase, staircase, stairs, stairway, stanchion, standard, stepping-stones, steps, storm door, threshold, tollgate, trap, trap door, treads and risers, turnpike, turnstile, upright