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

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web 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 The female figures are reminiscent of caryatids, seen in both ancient Greek temples and in the centuries-old carvings of the Luba people from Central Africa. The New Yorker, 25 May 2018 Its exterior renovation included the replacement of 2,483 historically accurate windows and restoration of the decorative cornice complete with caryatid statues. John Gallagher, Detroit Free Press, 4 Sep. 2019 So too did caryatids, stone sculptures of women that structurally hold up Greek temples, that provided the inspiration for one of the collection’s key silhouettes. Washington Post, 1 July 2019 See More

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

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 24 Mar. 2023.

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

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