buttress

noun
but·tress | \ˈbə-trəs \

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 \-trəst \ 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

Volante’s curvaceous decklid, integrating the leather-upholstered tonneau and twin head buttresses, makes the DB11’s heavy haunches and Coke-bottle waist even more explicit. Dan Neil, WSJ, "2019 Aston Martin DB11 Volante: A Six-Figure Car That’s Worth Every Penny," 26 Apr. 2018 Read more: All Mason lodges symbolically sit from east to west and every pillar, buttress and stair has some sort of symbolic meaning, the docents leading the tour said. Detroit Free Press, "Tour offers a peek inside Detroit's Masonic Temple," 17 June 2018 Cherven’s medieval town—perched on a buttress of rock high above the river and the modern village. Henry Wismayer, WSJ, "Undiscovered Europe: A Vacation Like No Other," 23 May 2018 During the day, the mounds' outer buttresses heat up faster than their central chimneys. National Geographic, "6 Amazing Structures Built by Surprising Creatures," 7 May 2018 At each corner of the mausoleum is a three-quarter column, also covered in the basket-weave pattern and slightly tilted inward to act as a buttress. Judith H. Dobrzynski, WSJ, "A Final Resting Place, Both Beguiling and Beautiful," 4 May 2018 Bridenstine has since acknowledged a human influence and has sounded support for NASA’s $1.9 billion in earth science research—a major buttress of climate science in the United States. Paul Voosen, Science | AAAS, "Bridenstine confirmed to serve as NASA administrator," 19 Apr. 2018 Under stabilization plans for areas liberated from the militants, the Americans have organized mine-clearing and infrastructure reconstruction operations, and served as a buttress to keep other forces from taking over cleared areas. Loveday Morris, Washington Post, "Saudi Arabia says it’s open to sending troops to Syria as U.S. draws down," 17 Apr. 2018 There are sturdy buttress roots below and pen-thin palms towering above the forest canopy. Mark Johanson, chicagotribune.com, "Paradise takes many forms on this Indonesian archipelago," 23 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The companies' voluntary actions have been buttressed by the legislative and judicial branches. Brian Barrett, WIRED, "Good News! The Privacy Wins Keep Coming," 27 June 2018 The relationship has been buttressed by a close personal connection between the presidents. Josh Chin, WSJ, "Russia and China Show Off Ties With Putin Visit," 8 June 2018 The liquidity of Hong Kong’s system, for example, is buttressed by HSBC’s ability to handle dollars in New York. The Economist, "The long arm of the dollar," 19 May 2018 His analysis of nostalgia, ULTRA, for example, is buttressed by a segment on the history of the mixtape, which traces the medium’s usage back to the early days of DJ culture and hip-hop’s spread from house parties to living rooms. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "Is It Futile to 'Dissect' Frank Ocean's Work?," 17 May 2018 That individual clean sweep is buttressed by his team’s steady dominance, as Houston leads the NBA in wins, point differential, offensive rating, and three-pointers. Ben Golliver, SI.com, "2018 NBA Awards Picks: Has James Harden Finally Earned His MVP Moment?," 11 Apr. 2018 For some budget watchdogs, the uncertainty over federal cuts was a reason for the city to buttress its reserves and demonstrate restraint. J. David Goodman, New York Times, "With Headwinds Looming, Mayor de Blasio Unveils $88.7 Billion Budget," 1 Feb. 2018 There’s a lot of folklore to buttress a triskaidekaphobe’s fear, and early examples date all the way back to the Bible. Emily Deciccio, Fox News, "Why is Friday the 13th so spooky?," 13 July 2018 The report, like nearly all intelligence products on North Korea, offered analysis at low or medium confidence — language intelligence agencies use to signal that analysts lack hard information to buttress their conclusions. NBC News, "CIA report says North Korea won't denuclearize, but might open a burger joint," 29 May 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for buttress

Noun

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

Verb

see buttress entry 1

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Time Traveler for buttress

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

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More Definitions for buttress

buttress

noun

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 \

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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