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a cone-shaped tent of animal skins used by certain North American Indians
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
A relatively lightweight, transportable, conically shaped dwelling primarily of American Indians of the Great Plains; its base was generally egglike in plan, with the narrower end of the base at the entrance. The framework consisted of heavy wood poles, fixed in the ground at their lower ends and lashed together at the top. This framework was covered with decorated waterproof animal skins, sewn together with sinew and secured to the ground by pegs driven through loops at the base of the cover. Another type of tipi, used by tribes in the eastern regions of America, had a domed rather than a conical framework consisting of branches bent over, tied together, and covered by bark or animal skins sewn together with sinew to provide a waterproof covering. Also spelled tepee or teepee.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.