flying buttress

flying buttress


: a structure that supports a wall or building from the outside

Full Definition of FLYING BUTTRESS

:  a masonry structure that typically consists of a straight inclined bar carried on an arch and a solid pier or buttress against which it abuts and that receives the thrust of a roof or vault

Illustration of FLYING BUTTRESS

First Known Use of FLYING BUTTRESS


flying buttress

noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Masonry structure typically consisting of an inclined bar carried on a half arch that extends (“flies”) from the upper part of a wall to a pier some distance away and carries the thrust of a roof or vault. A pinnacle (vertical ornament of pyramidal or conical shape) often crowns the pier, adding weight and enhancing stability. The flying buttress evolved in the Gothic era from earlier simpler, hidden supports. The design increased the supporting power of the buttress and allowed for the creation of the high-ceilinged churches typical of Gothic architecture.


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