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

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

Any other evidence that prosecutors might have to buttress Cohen’s potential testimony remains unclear. Charlie Savage, The Seattle Times, "Trump lays out a defense for potential campaign-finance crimes," 10 Dec. 2018 Internal objections have been buttressed with external support from academics, researchers, and shareholders. Nitasha Tiku, WIRED, "Microsoft's Ethical Reckoning Is Here," 18 June 2018 The discovery buttresses the theory of a massive flood. Martin Finucane, BostonGlobe.com, "Mile-high waterfall might have once connected eastern, western Mediterranean," 22 Mar. 2018 One of Red Table’s executive producers, longtime Oprah Winfrey Show vet and multiple-Emmy-winner, Ellen Rakieten, buttresses Jada’s statement. Mariano Vivanco; Styled By Simon Robins, Harper's BAZAAR, "The New American Dynasty," 3 Dec. 2018 With their first pick, which came 12 spots before Rankin, the Texans buttressed their defensive depth in a smart way by getting safety Justin Reid (Eric’s brother). Andy Benoit, SI.com, "2018 NFL Draft Grades: Analysis of All 32 Teams," 28 Apr. 2018 Inverted tension Brunelleschi found inspiration for his design in the inverted catenary shape of the Pantheon, which is an ideal shape for domes because the innate physical forces can support the structure with no need for buttressing. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Italy’s famous dome is cracking, and cosmic rays could help save it," 21 Aug. 2018 This detailed account of the 1859 murder trial that captivated Springfield is an atmospheric work, its accuracy buttressed by the shorthand trial transcript produced by Robert R. Hitt, one of the nation’s best (and first) stenographers. Matt Damsker, USA TODAY, "Honest Abe is courtroom star in Dan Abrams' entertaining history, 'Lincoln's Last Trial'," 6 June 2018 Ticketmaster controlled over 80 percent of the market before the merger, and that holds true of Live Nation today, buttressed by its role as the nation’s largest concert promoter and owner of over 200 venues. David Dayen, The New Republic, "The Ticket Monopoly Is Worse Than Ever (Thanks, Obama)," 15 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 and Verb

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

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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 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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