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

This medieval-inspired stone castle flaunts arched portals, flying buttresses, towers, onion domes, a moat and a drawbridge. Tom Noel, The Know, "9 odd places that you should include on a Colorado road trip, from a giant hot dog to fake cliff dwellings," 25 Aug. 2019 The 850-year-old Gothic building's 295-foot spire dated back to 1345, and the cathedral remains one of the first—and finest—examples of the flying buttress architectural style. Tim Newcomb, Popular Mechanics, "Rebuilding History: How 21st-Century Tech Can Save Medieval Notre Dame," 16 Apr. 2019 To prevent such a disaster, in early July a giant crane began hoisting 7-ton wooden frames cut to the exact specifications of the flying buttresses, to be wedged inside each arc, in order to weigh them down and stop the building from shifting. Vivienne Walt / Paris, Time, "Inside the Fight Over How Notre Dame Should Rise From the Ashes," 25 July 2019 The final touches to the monument were put in place in the 1300s by master builder Jean Ravy, who was one of the first to employ another great Gothic architectural innovation: flying buttresses, exterior braces to help support the roof and walls. National Geographic, "An 800-year history of Paris's Notre Dame Cathedral," 15 Apr. 2019 The soaring structure is famed for its flying buttresses, which help hold... WSJ, "Notre Dame’s Fame Through the Ages," 15 Apr. 2019 The monument’s iconic flying buttresses are another late addition, and weren't even planned until the 1300s. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "President Macron Wants to See Notre-Dame Cathedral Restored in Five Years," 16 Apr. 2019 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

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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Statistics for flying buttress

Last Updated

13 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for flying buttress

The first known use of flying buttress was in 1669

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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

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to make a temporary encampment

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