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 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 But in times of tremendous sadness, the tiny glimmers of good serve as a buttress to support us all and lead us back to the light. Friday night lights, even. Perri Ormont Blumberg, Southern Living, "Odessa and Permian High School Students Put Aside Friday Night Lights Rivalry to Support Shooting Victims," 3 Sep. 2019 Not since the medieval masons tried to render God in buttresses and vaults had so much stone been devoted to the assertion of permanence. Edward Carr, 1843, "We apologise for the decay," 29 Aug. 2019 The castlelike exterior boasted a large corner buttress and chimney as well as a curvilinear parapet wall. Paula Allen, ExpressNews.com, "Controversial landmark property near downtown San Antonio didn’t excite preservationists," 10 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Buttigieg, who had socked away more than $23 million socked-away at the end of September to buttress future ad buys, can’t compete with Bloomberg’s coffers. Philip Elliott, Time, "How Michael Bloomberg's Potential White House Run Shakes Up The Field," 9 Nov. 2019 Complicated points totals, unorthodox standings and the mystifying image of two winners at the event’s conclusion — one for the final tournament and the other for the overall playoffs — has only buttressed the public’s puzzlement. Bill Pennington, New York Times, "FedEx Cup Rule Changes Make Playoffs Easier (for Fans)," 7 Aug. 2019 This observation was buttressed by analysis of a second, independent cohort of Quechua compared to global populations from the 1000 Genomes Project. Diana Gitig, Ars Technica, "The genetic basis of Peruvians’ ability to live at high altitude," 15 Nov. 2019 In recent years, though, Morales more closely followed an authoritarian playbook, undermining some of the social and indigenous movements that once buttressed his rule and prosecuting former allies who turned against him. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, "The crisis in Bolivia fits no easy political narrative," 14 Nov. 2019 Around the same time as the call, the White House withheld $250 million in military aid, meant to buttress Ukraine against Russian aggression. Laura King, Anchorage Daily News, "Whistleblower controversy deepens as Trump suggests he discussed Biden with Ukraine president," 23 Sep. 2019 The figures, however, do buttress what industry observers say is a positive signal for Encore: revenue from table games — the province of big spenders that casinos yearn to attract — continues to be healthy. BostonGlobe.com, "But the Encore has become a significant new draw in the Boston area, even if the gambling traffic is modest by the lofty standards Wynn set in pursuit of its license.," 17 Sep. 2019 If veterans and older players do start dropping out, Popovich can always buttress the team with youth. SI.com, "One Year Out: What to Watch Ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics," 24 July 2019 Hipcamp, the most comprehensive, lists some 360,000 places to camp, glamp or sidle up in an RV, buttressing each entry with intel about the amenities (or lack thereof), nearby activities and photos. Brigid Mander, WSJ, "Finally, an Airbnb for Campers (and Glampers)," 6 June 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

5 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Buttress.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/buttressed. Accessed 14 December 2019.

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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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