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cor·​bel ˈkȯr-bəl How to pronounce corbel (audio)
: an architectural member that projects from within a wall and supports a weight
especially : one that is stepped upward and outward from a vertical surface

Illustration of corbel

Illustration of corbel


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corbeled or corbelled; corbeling or corbelling

transitive verb

: to furnish with or make into a corbel

Examples of corbel in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Add-ons such as under-counter corbels, fancy feet, and arched openings achieve a focal-point status based more on style than location. Caitlin Sole, Better Homes & Gardens, 24 May 2023 In this kitchen, cabinets above the range feel like a work of art, thanks to intricate corbels and a small mantel. Caitlin Sole, Better Homes & Gardens, 24 May 2023 In the lower level lounge, there’s a calacatta stone bar on a base made from wood and corbels from a Spanish church; the ceiling above the bar is made of vintage tin panels from France. Nancy Keates, WSJ, 1 Mar. 2023 Shannan and Drew crafted an artful sconce from a salvaged corbel, a couple of weathered wood shutters, and a $13 lamp kit. Kelly Ryan Kegans, Country Living, 4 Jan. 2023 German archaeologist Gottlieb Schumacher stands near the corbel arch of a burial chamber at Megiddo in 1905. Pamela Weintraub, Discover Magazine, 1 Oct. 2015 Here, a natural stone gas fireplace with a cherry wood corbel mantel ties the space together. Karen A. Avitabile, Hartford Courant, 29 May 2022

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

Word History



Middle English, "raven, architectural corbel," borrowed from Middle French (Anglo-French, "crow, raven"), going back to Old French, from corp "raven" (going back to Latin corvus) + -el, diminutive suffix (going back to Latin -ellus) — more at cornice entry 1

Note: Old French corp, corb for expected *corf (cf. cerf "deer," from Latin cervus) is difficult to explain; it has been speculated that the form was imported by Roman settlers from Etruria or another part of Italy where Latin -rv- regularly yields -rb- (cf. Tuscan corbo "raven" beside corvo; see Pierre Fouché, Phonétique historique du français, vol. 3, Paris, 1966, p. 798).


derivative of corbel entry 1

First Known Use


15th century, in the meaning defined above


1843, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of corbel was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near corbel

Cite this Entry

“Corbel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jun. 2024.

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