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

In contrast to the historic skyscraper’s filigreed crown of flying buttresses and pinnacles, the top of the new one would consist of curving glass walls extending beyond the building’s occupied floors. Blair Kamin And Ryan Ori,, "Developers plan city's second-tallest skyscraper next to new Tribune Tower condos," 16 Apr. 2018 Brunelleschi's design called for an octagonal dome spanning 150 feet and soaring nearly 300 feet in height with no flying buttresses for support. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Italy’s famous dome is cracking, and cosmic rays could help save it," 21 Aug. 2018 But a newspaper is not flying buttresses and arches and limestone. Mary Schmich,, "A newspaper is not a building: Lessons from packing to leave Tribune Tower," 5 June 2018 Moreover, Wren’s weight-bearing walls demanded Gothic-style flying buttresses, which would have looked incongruous amid his Classicism. Barrymore Laurence Scherer, WSJ, "A Symbol of Britain’s Will to Survive," 11 May 2018 The sign, which went up in the 1960s, is as much a part of Tribune Tower’s identity as its Gothic grotesques and flying buttresses. Blair Kamin,, "Tribune Tower plans would energize an old landmark, but don't yet create a new one," 18 Apr. 2018 Even its Batman top, whose glass walls would frame a swath of sky-high open space, would nod to the memorable voids formed by the tower’s flying buttresses, which insert patches of sky into the body of the skyscraper. Blair Kamin,, "Tribune Tower plans would energize an old landmark, but don't yet create a new one," 18 Apr. 2018 View 56 Photos The 570GT does away with the contrasting side scoops, flying buttresses, and short, vertical rear glass of the 570S—a car that is otherwise mechanically identical apart from model-specific chassis tuning. Michael Simari, Car and Driver, "2017 McLaren 570GT," 26 Jan. 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of flying buttress

1669, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about flying buttress

Share flying buttress

Statistics for flying buttress

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for flying buttress

The first known use of flying buttress was in 1669

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for flying buttress

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 Encyclopedia article about flying buttress

Comments on flying buttress

What made you want to look up flying buttress? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a flaw that causes the downfall of a hero

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A Green Quiz

  • shamrock
  • What is the best definition of green-eyed monster?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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