A braid (also called plait) is a complex structure or pattern formed by intertwining three or more strands of flexible material such as textile fibres, wire, or human hair.
Compared to the process of weaving a wide sheet of cloth from two separate, perpendicular groups of strands (warp and weft), a braid is usually long and narrow, with each component strand functionally equivalent in zigzagging forward through the overlapping mass of the others.
The simplest possible braid is a flat, solid, three-strand structure in some countries/cases called a plait.
More complex braids can be constructed from an arbitrary (but usually odd) number of strands to create a wider range of structures: wider ribbon-like bands, hollow or solid cylindrical cords, or broad mats which resemble a rudimentary perpendicular weave.
Braids are commonly used to make rope, decorative objects, and hairstyles (also see pigtails, French braid). Complex braids have been used to create hanging fibre artworks.
Braiding is also used to prepare horses' manes and tails for showing, polo and polocrosse.