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 Speedster's top unlatches from the windshield and unlocks the buttresses electrically, but the rest of the operation requires human assistance. Tony Quiroga, Car and Driver, "Tested: 2019 Porsche Speedster Makes a Case for Less Is More," 27 Mar. 2020 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The team left Ruby strong, buttressed by two of my main leaders, Charlotte and Thunder. John Schandelmeier, Anchorage Daily News, "A musher who never intended to run the Iditarod ends his race in rainy Unalakleet," 28 Mar. 2020 So the story of 2019, in particular, was a tale of hot takes and takedowns buttressed by evanescent evidence. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, "The Political Media’s Blurred Reality," 12 Mar. 2020 The latest batch of economic data also helps buttress traders’ confidence in the health of the U.S. economy. Washington Post, "Asian shares mostly higher after Wall Street record highs," 18 Dec. 2019 Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is considering further economic measures and support to buttress the economy, just days after announcing a A$17.6 billion ($10.8 billion) stimulus package. Jason Scott, Bloomberg.com, "Australia Considering Further Economic Support as Virus Spreads," 29 Apr. 2020 European Union finance ministers agreed Thursday night to a plan calling for new measures worth more than a half-trillion euros to buttress their economies against the onslaught of the coronavirus. New York Times, "Coronavirus Caseload Tops 1.6 Million, as Countries Greet Easter Weekend with Lockdowns," 11 Apr. 2020 To respond, the White House and Congress assembled a massive spending bill that directs money to households, businesses, cities, states, and hospitals, while seeking to buttress state unemployment programs that are overwhelmed with new filers. Paul Kane, BostonGlobe.com, "Trump signs $2 trillion coronavirus bill into law as companies and households brace for more economic pain," 27 Mar. 2020 Seeking to buttress his candidacy and reemergence in the campaign’s top tier, Biden rolled out a number of endorsements Sunday, including the support of former Sens. Los Angeles Times, "With Buttigieg out, Biden portrays presidential race as two-man fight with Sanders," 1 Mar. 2020 That’s on display now as the government is calling on private actors to buttress the federal response. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Private Health Care to the Rescue," 1 Mar. 2020

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

24 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Buttress.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/buttress. Accessed 24 May. 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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