noun \ˈgär-ˌgi(-ə)l\

: a strange or ugly human or animal figure that sticks out from the roof of a building (such as a church)

Full Definition of GARGOYLE

a :  a spout in the form of a grotesque human or animal figure projecting from a roof gutter to throw rainwater clear of a building
b :  a grotesquely carved figure
:  a person with an ugly face
gar·goyled \-ˌgi(-ə)ld\ adjective

Illustration of GARGOYLE

Origin of GARGOYLE

Middle English gargule, gargoyl, from Old French gargoule
First Known Use: 13th century

Other Architecture Terms

buttress, casita, cornice, fanlight, garret, lintel, parapet, pilaster, plinth


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Carved spout that drains water from a rooftop gutter. The Gothic gargoyle was usually a grotesque bird or animal sitting on the back of a cornice and projecting forward for several feet in order to throw the water far from the building. The term is often loosely applied to any grotesque or fantastic beast, such as the chimères (chimeras) that decorate the parapets of Notre-Dame de Paris.


Next Word in the Dictionary: Garhwali
Previous Word in the Dictionary: gargouillade
All Words Near: gargoyle

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up gargoyle? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).