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can·​ti·​le·​ver ˈkan-tə-ˌlē-vər How to pronounce cantilever (audio)
: a projecting beam or member supported at only one end: such as
: a bracket-shaped member supporting a balcony or a cornice
: either of the two beams or trusses that project from piers toward each other and that when joined directly or by a suspended connecting member form a span of a cantilever bridge


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cantilevered; cantilevering; cantilevers

transitive verb

: to support by a cantilever
a cantilevered shelf
: to build as a cantilever

intransitive verb

: to project as a cantilever

Did you know?

Cantilevers hold up a surface or room without themselves being supported at their outer end. Many outdoor balconies are cantilevered, and theater balconies may be as well. A cantilevered bridge may have a huge span (as long as 1,800 feet) built out on either side of a single large foundation pier. Architects sometimes use cantilevered construction to produce dramatic effects; Frank Lloyd Wright's "Fallingwater" house, which extends out over a rocky river, is a famous example. But the Grand Canyon's "Skywalk" has become perhaps the best-known piece of cantilevered construction in America.

Examples of cantilever in a Sentence

Noun The porch is supported by steel cantilevers. Verb The balcony cantilevers over the terrace below.
Recent Examples on the Web
But in 2018, researchers John Zhang and colleagues at the Thayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth, developed a prototype generator that used a cantilever design to produce electricity from the beating of the human heart, and demonstrated the device’s potential to power a pacemaker. Ned Carter Miles, Discover Magazine, 3 May 2024 At the touch of a button, the platform cantilevers outwards and can be adjusted to become a perfect high-dive board, or lower into the sea to launch Grateful’s fleet of Seabobs and kayaks. Howard Walker, Robb Report, 1 Apr. 2024
Back in 2015, when Piper Mavis was seeking a place to live in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Silver Lake, the visual artist ran across a particularly intriguing home cantilevered into a steep hillside. Wendy Bowman, Robb Report, 3 July 2024 The Witch Elm cantilevered off detective fiction and created something far more modern and angular than its predecessors, a novel that used an old foundation to fashion a new, more pointed structure. Hillary Kelly, The Atlantic, 11 Mar. 2024 See all Example Sentences for cantilever 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cantilever.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



perhaps from cant entry 4 + -i- + lever

First Known Use


1667, in the meaning defined above


1902, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of cantilever was in 1667

Dictionary Entries Near cantilever

Cite this Entry

“Cantilever.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


 also  -ev-ər
: a beam or support fastened at only one end
: either of two beams or structures that stick out from piers toward each other and when joined form a span in a bridge
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