can·​ti·​le·​ver | \ ˈkan-tə-ˌlē-vər How to pronounce cantilever (audio) , -ˌle- \

Definition of cantilever

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a projecting beam or member supported at only one end: such as
a : a bracket-shaped member supporting a balcony or a cornice
b : 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


cantilevered; cantilevering; cantilevers

Definition of cantilever (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to support by a cantilever a cantilevered shelf
2 : 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: Noun This cantilever umbrella is highly rated for its quality and extra features. Rachel Klein, Popular Mechanics, 13 May 2022 Scoring a high-quality cantilever umbrella for roughly $300—at full price—is no easy feat. Rachel Klein, Popular Mechanics, 27 Apr. 2022 Base sold separately If your backyard patio setup is mainly lounge chairs rather than a central dining table, then a cantilever umbrella is the way to go. Christian Gollayan, Men's Health, 25 Apr. 2022 Measuring in at 6,768 feet in length, this steel cantilever structure is the longest elevated pedestrian bridge on earth, linking Poughkeepsie to neighboring Ulster County and providing a spectacular view of both sides of the Hudson along the way. Jared Ranahan, Forbes, 23 Dec. 2021 This construction method is known as the unbalanced cantilever system, said bridge authority Vice President Heather Grondin during a virtual press conference on Wednesday. Lauren Wethington, Detroit Free Press, 10 Mar. 2022 Familiar around the world as the setting for London’s New Year firework display, this distinctive cantilever observation wheel now has a new element with a calming Wellness Pod set aside for the discovery of inner peace. Nel-olivia Waga, Forbes, 18 Oct. 2021 Yes If a cantilever umbrella is more your style, this one from Sol 72 Outdoor is an excellent option. Lindsay Boyers, Forbes, 27 May 2021 Dermot Diamond, director of the National Centre for Sensor Research in Ireland, applauds the team’s achievement in successfully immobilising the receptor on the cantilever and for being able to distinguish the sample drugs from sugars. Simon Hadlington, Scientific American, 19 June 2014 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb For more great outdoor upgrades, check out our coverage of the best outdoor sectionals, smokeless fire pits, and cantilever umbrellas! Rachel Klein, Popular Mechanics, 9 May 2022 Mounted on a four-link, pantograph-style hydraulic mechanism, the oversize center section of the swim platform can cantilever upwards, revealing a tender and toy garage. Howard Walker, Robb Report, 6 May 2022 There are six bedrooms, including two on the upper floor that have glass walls and cantilever over the patio below. E.b. Solomont, WSJ, 21 Oct. 2021 There is a new guesthouse and cantilever glass garage. oregonlive, 2 Aug. 2021 Void spaces are more likely in V-shaped, lean-to and cantilever collapses. Fernando Alfonso Iii, CNN, 26 June 2021 The fashion for tight bodices that cantilevered breasts into a position where the nipple might be visible proved popular. Rosalind Jana,, 14 May 2020 In the financial district, in a building designed by Sir David Adjaye, the kitchen islands will be made from two rough slabs of stone, one cantilevered over the other — the only things missing are hunks of meat and some Argentine gauchos. New York Times, 5 Nov. 2019 Today, Remington offers nearly every slug gun configuration imaginable, from rifled barrels with open sights and standard stocks, to cantilever scope mounts and thumbhole stocks. Curtis Niedermier, Outdoor Life, 18 Nov. 2019 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cantilever.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of cantilever


1667, in the meaning defined above


1902, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for cantilever


perhaps from cant entry 4 + -i- + lever

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Time Traveler for cantilever

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The first known use of cantilever was in 1667

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cantilever arch

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Last Updated

17 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Cantilever.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for cantilever


can·​ti·​le·​ver | \ ˈkan-tə-ˌlē-vər How to pronounce cantilever (audio) , -ˌle- \

Kids Definition of cantilever

1 : a beam or similar support fastened (as by being built into a wall) only at one end The balcony is supported by wooden cantilevers.
2 : either of two structures that stick out from piers toward each other and when joined form a span in a bridge ( cantilever bridge )


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