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

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 The Gothic style derived from the invention of the pointed, ribbed stone vault, so light that height could be achieved without mass, so strong that walls, relieved of their burden by buttresses, could be of glass rather than stone. Bruce Dale, National Geographic, "Adored, neglected, and restored: A 1968 Nat Geo feature explored Notre Dame," 17 Apr. 2019 The cushion is perfectly firm and the deep, walled-off arms function like buttresses. Lauren Mechling, latimes.com, "Lauren Mechling: A chair of my own," 13 June 2019 This is another buttress to social Darwinism, eugenics, and other theories that bedeviled civilization well into the twentieth century. Marilynne Robinson, Harper's magazine, "Is Poverty Necessary?," 10 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The scientists discovered the cave while searching for microfossils to buttress their then-radical theory that microbial life flourished on land more than a billion years ago. Peter Byrne, Quanta Magazine, "Early Life in Death Valley," 24 Apr. 2014 More than a third of millennials slip ’n’ slide into debt to attend bachelor/ette parties, which have buttressed and built entire industries, from Airbnb to boutique travel planners. Wired, "The Beautiful Potential of Never-Ending Bachelor Parties," 22 Aug. 2019 That experience was buttressed by work at a small Massachusetts farm, catering business, restaurant, and brewery. Denise Coffey, courant.com, "Taylor Brooke Brewery Opens In Woodstock," 29 July 2019 Men’s value, meanwhile, is incessantly buttressed by other men. Soraya Roberts, Longreads, "This (Wo)Man’s Work," 19 July 2019 The warmest spot was the metal frame that buttresses the main plastic housing. Lee Hutchinson, Ars Technica, "Review: Helm Personal Server gets email self-hosting (almost) exactly right," 4 Dec. 2018 Footage has been used to buttress police reports, persuade defendants to take plea deals and document what officers were on hand to witness. Rafael Olmeda, sun-sentinel.com, "More cops caught on camera. But can you believe what you’re seeing?," 22 July 2019 Ethics watchdogs and critics are howling, however, about special treatment and raising concerns that Chao is using her position to funnel money to the state as a way buttress her husband's 2020 reelection. Phillip M. Bailey, The Courier-Journal, "Elaine Chao’s $78M for Kentucky projects seen as helping McConnell's reelection," 11 June 2019 To buttress his arguments, Schrödinger made extensive use of experimental research conducted by Max Delbrück during the 1930s. Peter Byrne, Quanta Magazine, "In Pursuit of Quantum Biology With Birgitta Whaley," 30 July 2013

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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Statistics for buttress

Last Updated

10 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

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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