buttress

noun
but·​tress | \ ˈbə-trəs How to pronounce buttress (audio) \

Definition of buttress

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 architecture : a projecting structure of masonry or wood for supporting or giving stability to a wall or building
2 : something that resembles a buttress: such as
a : a projecting part of a mountain or hill
b biology : a horny protuberance on a horse's hoof at the heel — see hoof illustration
c botany : the broadened base of a tree trunk or a thickened vertical part of it
3 : something that supports or strengthens a buttress of the cause of peace

buttress

verb
buttressed; buttressing; buttresses

Definition of buttress (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

architecture : to give support or stability to (a wall or building) with a projecting structure of masonry or wood : to furnish or shore up with a buttress (see buttress entry 1 sense 1) also : support, strengthen arguments buttressed by solid facts

Illustration of buttress

Illustration of buttress

Noun

buttress 1

In the meaning defined above

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Other Words from buttress

Noun

buttressed \ ˈbə-​trəst How to pronounce buttressed (audio) \ adjective

Did You Know?

Noun

A buttress is an exterior support projecting from a wall that is used to resist the sideways force, also called thrust, created by the load on an arch or roof. Its name was first adopted into English as "butres" in the 14th century. It came to us from the Anglo-French (arche) boteraz, meaning "thrusting (arch)," and ultimately derives from the verb "buter," "to thrust." "Buter" is also the source of our verb butt, meaning "to thrust, push, or strike with the head or horns." Relatively soon, "buttress" came to be used figuratively for anything that supports or strengthens something else. In addition, it was also in the 14th century that "buttress" was first used as a verb meaning "to support or strengthen," literally and figuratively.

Examples of buttress in a Sentence

Noun the mother had always been the buttress of our family in trying times after the wall collapsed, the construction company agreed to rebuild it with a buttress Verb The treaty will buttress the cause of peace. The theory has been buttressed by the results of the experiment.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The engine can also cool itself better now because of new air ducts in the GT's massive rear buttresses that increase airflow by 50 percent. Connor Hoffman, Car and Driver, "2020 Ford GT Has More Power, Louder Exhaust," 6 Feb. 2020 In contrast to the sobriety of the shaft, the mooring mast rises 200 feet above the 86th-floor observatory, a glowing glass tube with exuberant Art Deco bird-wing buttresses. James S. Russell, New York Times, "The Empire State Building: Renewing the Affair," 17 Sep. 2019 There’s also under-vault storage akin to that of the Honda Ridgeline, and there appear to be gear lockers in the rear buttresses, a storage location akin to the Rambox. Wes Siler, Outside Online, "Is the Tesla Cybertruck for Real?," 22 Nov. 2019 Pena Palace, Portugal Inspired by German Romantic architecture, Pena Palace—situated on top of a hill in Sintra—looks like a Disney castle with its pink and yellow towers, ornamental buttresses, and cartoonish gargoyles. Caitlin Morton, Condé Nast Traveler, "The 24 Most Beautiful Castles in Europe," 8 Nov. 2019 This diversity results in stunning mosaic of spaces—from treehouse temples in the Ozarks to the smooth wooden pews of Philadelphia’s Mother Bethel to the buttresses and gargoyles of Washington’s National Cathedral. National Geographic, "Divine architecture: Magnificent churches across the U.S.," 9 Nov. 2019 The ride will, for the first time, offer glimpses of the intricate steel framing that supports the mast, the backside of the aluminum buttresses and translucent panels that transmit the mast’s nighttime glow. James S. Russell, New York Times, "The Empire State Building: Renewing the Affair," 17 Sep. 2019 Wooden supporting arches are being placed under the 28 buttresses, without anchoring them in stone. Washington Post, "Architect: Notre Dame far from safe for restoration work," 17 July 2019 Situated on the Ile de la Cite, an island in the Seine river, its architecture is famous for, among other things, its many gargoyles and its iconic flying buttresses. oregonlive, "Structure of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris saved: fire chief," 15 Apr. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Mr Fernández would buttress a debt restructuring with other growth-boosting measures. The Economist, "Alberto Fernández, Argentina’s new president, faces economic crisis," 10 Dec. 2019 The pending submission to the White House's Office of Management and Budget comes at a time when Pruitt needs to buttress his deregulatory bona fides with Trump, the one individual who can fire him. Dino Grandoni, Washington Post, "The Energy 202: Trump appointee at EPA to scrutinize which pollution cases may go to court," 15 June 2018 From the well of the Senate, Schiff buttressed his argument with video clips of Trump and former administration officials, some of whom testified as part of the House's impeachment proceedings. Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, azcentral, "Sinema votes for more impeachment witnesses, information. McSally votes against," 22 Jan. 2020 Start buttressing your team by assessing which of these are your strengths (and weaknesses), and model the ones that can help your organization, when things go wrong. Jenna Schnuer, Fortune, "Hard Times Are Coming. Here’s How to Build Your Company’s Resilience to Endure Them," 18 Dec. 2019 Gay rights groups from both sides of the ethnic divide in Cyprus have formalized their cooperation in raising public awareness about gay rights and working toward buttressing those rights through legislation. San Diego Union-Tribune, "LGBT groups from both sides of divided Cyprus join forces," 5 Oct. 2019 The timing of Trump's tweet, just days before Israel's election on Tuesday, appeared aimed at buttressing Netanyahu's bid to remain in power by showcasing his close ties to Trump. NBC News, "Trump brings up possible defense treaty that could boost Netanyahu's re-election bid," 14 Sep. 2019 Champions said that was because Oregonians solidly back improving education, including buttressing support for mental health. oregonlive, "Oregon will spend big to promote youth mental health at school," 14 Sep. 2019 Their fantasy value, however, comes more in buttressing Murray’s prospects than in creating their own. Chris Allen, Sports Illustrated, "A Case for Kyler Murray as an Elite Fantasy Quarterback in 2019," 29 May 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'buttress.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of buttress

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for buttress

Noun and Verb

Middle English butres, from Anglo-French (arche) boteraz thrusting (arch), ultimately from buter to thrust — more at butt entry 3

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Time Traveler for buttress

Time Traveler

The first known use of buttress was in the 14th century

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Statistics for buttress

Last Updated

14 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Buttress.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/buttress. Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for buttress

buttress

noun
How to pronounce buttress (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of buttress

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a structure built against a wall in order to support or strengthen it

buttress

verb

English Language Learners Definition of buttress (Entry 2 of 2)

: to support, strengthen, or defend (something)

buttress

noun
but·​tress | \ ˈbə-trəs How to pronounce buttress (audio) \

Kids Definition of buttress

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a structure built against a wall or building to give support and strength
2 : something that supports, props, or strengthens

buttress

verb
buttressed; buttressing

Kids Definition of buttress (Entry 2 of 2)

: to support or strengthen : to support with or as if with a buttress

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