gargoyle

play
noun gar·goyle \ˈgär-ˌgȯi(-ə)l\

Definition of gargoyle

  1. 1a :  a spout in the form of a grotesque human or animal figure projecting from a roof gutter to throw rainwater clear of a buildingb :  a grotesquely carved figure

  2. 2 :  a person with an ugly face

gargoyled

play \ˈgär-ˌgȯi(-ə)ld\ adjective

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Did You Know?

In the 12th century, St. Bernard of Clairvaux reportedly complained about the new sculptures in the cloisters where he lived. "Surely," he is quoted as saying, "if we do not blush for such absurdities we should at least regret what we have spent on them." St. Bernard was apparently provoked by the grotesque figures designed to drain rainwater from buildings. By the 13th century, those figures were being called "gargoyles," a name that came to Middle English from the Old French gargoule. The stone beasts may have earned that name because of the water that gargled out of their throats and mouths.

Illustration of gargoyle

Origin and Etymology of gargoyle

Middle English gargule, gargoyl, from Old French gargoule


First Known Use: 13th century

Other Architecture Terms


GARGOYLE Defined for English Language Learners

gargoyle

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noun

Definition of gargoyle for English Language Learners

  • : a strange or ugly human or animal figure that sticks out from the roof of a building (such as a church)


GARGOYLE Defined for Kids

gargoyle

play
noun gar·goyle \ˈgär-ˌgȯil\

Definition of gargoyle for Students

  1. :  a strange or frightening human or animal figure that sticks out from the roof of a building and often serves as a waterspout



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