flying buttress


Definition of flying buttress

: a masonry structure that typically consists of a straight inclined bar carried on an arch and a solid pier or buttress against which it abuts and that receives the thrust of a roof or vault

Illustration of flying buttress

Illustration of flying buttress

Examples of flying buttress in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The vault is punctured by three gaping holes, and the flying buttresses are propped up by giant wooden blocks. Aurelien Breeden, New York Times, 15 Apr. 2020 Details – rose windows, gargoyles, flying buttresses – came gradually. Mike Hughes,, 26 Apr. 2020 And the damage threatened the delicate balance of forces between the vault and the cathedral’s flying buttresses: The entire building teetered on possible collapse. Christa Lesté-lasserre, Science | AAAS, 12 Mar. 2020 Studying the mortar used to bind the stones together could reveal how different compositions were used for the various structural elements—vaulting, walls and flying buttresses. Philip Ball, Scientific American, 9 Jan. 2020 The two-story orb nestles in a cocoon of pipes and cables, the red coils of its main magnet arching up out of the chaos like flying buttresses. Adrian Cho, Science | AAAS, 6 Feb. 2020 By 1182, much of the cathedral’s choir — the liturgical core of the building, then reserved for the clergy — with its iconic flying buttresses supporting its tall walls and roof, had been completed. Washington Post, 16 Jan. 2020 And so Notre Dame’s clerestory windows were enlarged, the roofs changed and the flying buttresses reconstructed, although the cathedral remained relatively dark despite its fashionable update. Washington Post, 16 Jan. 2020 The vault is still punctured by gaping holes, and the flying buttresses are propped up by giant wooden blocks. Aurelien Breeden, New York Times, 23 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'flying buttress.' 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 flying buttress

1669, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for flying buttress

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The first known use of flying buttress was in 1669

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Dictionary Entries Near flying buttress

flying bridge

flying buttress

flying camp

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Cite this Entry

“Flying buttress.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

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flying buttress


English Language Learners Definition of flying buttress

: a structure that supports a wall or building from the outside

More from Merriam-Webster on flying buttress

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for flying buttress Encyclopedia article about flying buttress


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