cary·​at·​id ˌker-ē-ˈa-təd How to pronounce caryatid (audio)
ˈker-ē-ə-ˌtid How to pronounce caryatid (audio)
plural caryatids or caryatides ˌker-ē-ˈa-tə-ˌdēz How to pronounce caryatid (audio)
: a draped female figure supporting an entablature

Illustration of caryatid

Illustration of caryatid

Examples of caryatid in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The Greek key patterns inscribed on the floors of tenement bathrooms are repurposed as part of an architectural frieze, and Woodman’s friends—Rankin among them—are transformed into towering caryatids. Chris Wiley, The New Yorker, 16 Apr. 2024 Sometimes a caryatid has been compared to the unseen slave who carried society’s burdens. Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times, 15 Nov. 2023 Its tiered, warm bronze facade, whose color shifts with the sun, riffs on Yoruba caryatids and ironwork designs by a former South Carolina slave, playing off a phalanx of white marble mausoleums lining the National Mall. Michael Kimmelman, New York Times, 15 Feb. 2023 This living room, with its heavy red curtains and giant caryatids framing the chimney, was one of several that was ultimately scrapped. Jason Farago, New York Times, 6 Feb. 2020 The caryatid, which first came about in ancient Greece, is a carving of a standing woman used as a column to support an architectural structure. Domenica Bongiovanni, Indianapolis Star, 10 Dec. 2019 Her inaugural works for the Met’s façade—a set of four female bronze caryatids, larger than life and stylized in the tradition of high-ranking African women—challenge the institution’s own history of Eurocentrism and patriarchy. Time Staff, Time, 20 Dec. 2019 As the centuries went on, caryatids took on different postures and expressions in religious buildings and other facades. Domenica Bongiovanni, Indianapolis Star, 10 Dec. 2019 Mutu’s are no ordinary caryatids, and herein lies the source of her feminist intervention. Daniel Gelernter, National Review, 21 Sep. 2019

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

Word History


Latin caryatides, plural, from Greek karyatides priestesses of Artemis at Caryae, caryatids, from Karyai Caryae in Laconia

First Known Use

1563, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of caryatid was in 1563

Dictionary Entries Near caryatid

Cite this Entry

“Caryatid.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


cary·​at·​id ˌkar-ē-ˈat-əd How to pronounce caryatid (audio)
plural caryatids or caryatides
: a sculptured figure of a woman in flowing robes used as a column in architecture

More from Merriam-Webster on caryatid

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!