AskDefine | Define strake

Dictionary Definition

strake n : thick plank forming a ridge along the side of a wooden ship [syn: wale]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. An iron fitting of a medieval cart wheel.
    • 1866, The separate pieces of iron, forming together the fitting of the wheel, are called strakes, and the great nails by which they are fastened to the woodwork, and which had thick projecting heads, are called strake-nails and occasionally, it seems, cart-nails, great nails, or frets. — James Edwin Thorold Rogers, A History of Agriculture and Prices in England, Volume 1, p. 544.
  2. A type of aerodynamic surface on an aircraft fuselage.
  3. nautical archaic A continuous line of plates or planks running from bow to stern that contributes to a vessel's skin. (FM 55-501).
  4. To stretch [akin to Old English: streccan].


levelling tool
continuous line of planks or plates in a vessel's hull

Extensive Definition

A strake is:
  1. part of a boat or ship. It is an horizontal strip of wooden planking or steel plating on the exterior hull of a vessel, running longitudinally along the vessel from the stem to the stern.
  2. a device for controlling air flow over an aircraft or automobile (especially a racing car).
  3. a tool for tamping down and levelling semi-fluid materials into a mould.


In aviation, a strake (also known as a leading edge extension when positioned forward of the wing) is an aerodynamic surface generally mounted on the fuselage of an aircraft to fine-tune the airflow. Aircraft designers choose the location, angle and shape of the strake to produce the desired interaction.
The aircraft industry expanded very rapidly at the time of World War I. The skills required both in woodwork and in designing were similar to those of boatbuilding. The aircraft firms like Sopwith eagerly sought boat builders, especially those accustomed to work with such as rowing club best boats, Thames A Class Raters and the pre-war racing power boats. At that time, a good deal of boatbuilding thinking and terminology transferred with the men. It is therefore not surprising to find a longitudinal plate resembling a rubbing strake, though with a different purpose, being called a strake.


The word strake also refers to a straightedge used for levelling a bed of sand, or striking poured concrete or plaster level with the edges of the formwork or mould into which it has been poured. A strake used for flooring or paving work is often called a 'screed'.
strake in German: Spant
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