A truss is a structure comprising one or more triangular units constructed with straight members whose ends are connected at joints referred to as nodes. External forces and reactions to those forces are considered to act only at the nodes and result in forces in the members which are either tensile or compressive forces. Moments (torsional forces) are explicitly excluded because, and only because, all the joints in a truss are treated as revolutes.
A planar truss is one where all the members and nodes lie within a two dimensional plane, while a space truss has members and nodes extending into three dimensions.
A truss is composed of triangles because of the structural stability of that shape and design. A triangle is the simplest geometric figure that will not change shape when the lengths of the sides are fixed. In comparison, both the angles and the lengths of a four-sided figure must be fixed for it to retain its shape.