1

buttress

play
noun but·tress \ ˈbə-trəs \

Definition of buttress

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

buttressed

play \-trəst\ adjective

buttress was our Word of the Day on 05/25/2008. Hear the podcast!

Examples of buttress in a Sentence

  1. the mother had always been the buttress of our family in trying times

  2. after the wall collapsed, the construction company agreed to rebuild it with a buttress

Recent Examples of buttress from the Web

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.

Did You Know?

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.

Illustration of buttress

Origin and Etymology of buttress

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

Other Architecture Terms


2

buttress

verb

Definition of buttress

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 1buttress 1); also :support, strengthen
  • arguments buttressed by solid facts

Examples of buttress in a Sentence

  1. The treaty will buttress the cause of peace.

  2. The theory has been buttressed by the results of the experiment.

Recent Examples of buttress from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of buttress

buttress Synonyms

Synonyms
bear, bolster, brace, support, carry, prop (up), shore (up), stay, sustain, undergird, underpin, uphold
Related Words
steady, truss, underlie
Near Antonyms
undercut, undermine, weaken

Other Architecture Terms


BUTTRESS Defined for English Language Learners

buttress

play
noun

Definition of buttress for English Language Learners

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


buttress

verb

Definition of buttress for English Language Learners

  • : to support, strengthen, or defend (something)


BUTTRESS Defined for Kids

1

buttress

play
noun but·tress \ ˈbə-trəs \

Definition of buttress for Students

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

2

buttress

verb

Definition of buttress for Students

buttressed; buttressing
:to support or strengthen :to support with or as if with a buttress


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