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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
Floor-to-ceiling walls of glass slide open to slender decks that cantilever over the beach with a ship-like view over the ocean. Mark David, Robb Report, 16 Aug. 2023 Placencia Cantilever Sunbrella Umbrella Now 32% Off $980 at Wayfair On our list of best cantilever umbrellas, this model was rated the best round Sunbrella. Micki Wagner, Popular Mechanics, 2 Aug. 2023 Amazon Prime Day Cantilever Outdoor Umbrella Deals A cantilever umbrella is a type of outdoor umbrella that's offset from its stand, designed to shade patio furniture from the perimeter rather than the center of a seating area. Rachel Klein, Popular Mechanics, 11 July 2023 This Piezo sensor is in the shape of a tiny cantilever beam with weight attached on one end that flops with body movement. IEEE Spectrum, 13 Dec. 2018 To open and close the cantilever patio umbrella, use the simple hand crank on the side of the pole. Samantha Jones, Better Homes & Gardens, 5 June 2023 Our favorite cantilever umbrella is the Hampton Bay Aluminum Solar LED Outdoor patio umbrella, which offers an 11-foot canopy to keep even large tables and patio furniture sets in the shade. Samantha Jones, Better Homes & Gardens, 11 July 2022 Check out our stories on the best outdoor sectionals, cantilever umbrellas, and smokeless fire pits. Rachel Klein, Popular Mechanics, 16 May 2023 Overall, the best cantilever umbrella is this pick from Hampton Bay. Rachel Simon, Better Homes & Gardens, 8 May 2023
The proposal by the Diller Scofidio + Renfro team would also cantilever a gallery for contemporary art over a plaza facing Klyde Warren Park, that structure being an enormous box with a row of north-facing monitor skylights projecting from its roof. Mark Lamster, Dallas News, 11 July 2023 The bookshelves are cantilevered out from the sides, giving them the appearance of floating from the ceiling. Megan Wood, Travel + Leisure, 8 June 2023 Otherwise, on the town’s seafront is Villa Pietra Hotel, with its restaurant cantilevered over the water. Feride Yalav-Heckeroth, CNN, 24 May 2023 That means Raffles is cantilevered over the club, rising 28 stories over it. Christopher Muther,, 4 May 2023 Cala Saladeta, Ibiza, Spain On the west coast of the White Isle lies Cala Salada, a little cove backed by thick shrubbery, with a sickle of sand and rock slabs cantilevered over the water to moor boats against or sunbathe on. Julia Buckley, Travel + Leisure, 12 Apr. 2023 Tour the Rest of This Contemporary Lagos, Nigeria, Home Oshinowo conceived the house as a T, with the two upper floors cantilevering over the ground level to shelter a pool and a garage. Camille Okhio, ELLE Decor, 31 Mar. 2023 One scenario calls for the parish house, built in 1885 as the original sanctuary on the eastern edge of the site, to be knocked down and replaced with an ungainly tower that would cantilever over the rest of the complex like an upside-down ziggurat. Curbed, 18 July 2022 Many cantilever umbrellas feature a polyester canopy, which can make for strong protection against rain and light wind and is soft to the touch. Rachel Simon, Better Homes & Gardens, 6 Sep. 2022 See More

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 25 Sep. 2023.

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
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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