cor·​bel | \ ˈkȯr-bəl How to pronounce corbel (audio) \

Definition of corbel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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


corbeled or corbelled; corbeling or corbelling

Definition of corbel (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to furnish with or make into a corbel

Illustration of corbel

Illustration of corbel


In the meaning defined above

Examples of corbel in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Around the doors flat pilasters have carved leaf corbels at their tops, plus a header carved with grapevines. Judy Rose, Detroit Free Press, "You'll want this $1.75M Clarkston house for the art the owners made in it," 11 Apr. 2020 Historic sources call the architecture Italianate because of the elaborate carved corbels on the porch pillars and supporting some of the roofs. Judy Rose, Detroit Free Press, "$849K Franklin farmhouse is at least 180 years old — and a state historic site," 22 Feb. 2020 Custom details also include unique moldings and decorative accents such as corbels and decorative legs to make the cabinets look like furniture. John Inc., Houston Chronicle, "GHBA Remodelers Council: Custom cabinetry provides more possibilities," 25 Jan. 2020 The Carters worked on building corbels, a type of support bracket, for one of 21 homes that will be constructed in Nashville this week during the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project. Travis Loller, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Despite fall, former President Carter helps build home," 7 Oct. 2019 The chime assembly ties to the tower with a precast corbel anchored with a plate and bar. Tim Newcomb, Popular Mechanics, "A 93-Foot Tribute to United 93: The "Tower of Voices" 9/11 Memorial," 6 Sep. 2018 But the real dazzlers are the details: Beadboard and corbels offer decorative gravitas (and highlight a wider countertop that can double as a breakfast bar). Lauren Piro, Good Housekeeping, "A Builder Grade Island Gets a Stylish Storage Makeover," 24 May 2015 Buy Photo From the backyard pool, Melanie and Curtis Richins can admire their home’s stucco-and-stone 1910 Craftsman style with its peaked roofs, brackets, and corbels. Sally A. Downey,, "Old combines with new in 1910 Craftsman house in Wynnewood," 3 July 2018 Outside there was decorative bargeboard over windows and doors, decorative cornice and corbel trim. Joanne Kempinger Demski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A major renovation improved 1872 Walker's Point home but kept the Gothic Revival charm," 3 May 2018

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

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First Known Use of corbel


15th century, in the meaning defined above


1843, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for corbel


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

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

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Cite this Entry

“Corbel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

More from Merriam-Webster on corbel

Nglish: Translation of corbel for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about corbel

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