pi·​las·​ter pi-ˈla-stər How to pronounce pilaster (audio) ˈpī-ˌla- How to pronounce pilaster (audio)
: an upright architectural member that is rectangular in plan and is structurally a pier but architecturally treated as a column and that usually projects a third of its width or less from the wall

Illustration of pilaster

Illustration of pilaster
  • 1 pilaster

Examples of pilaster in a Sentence

the rectangular pilasters spaced along the building's facade lend an air of classical grandeur
Recent Examples on the Web On small pilasters sit 200-pound beach balls, cast in bronze and painted to match the room. Daniel Cassady, ARTnews.com, 3 July 2024 Made of red sandstone, the pilaster depicts the Hindu god Krishna lifting Mount Govardhana, a sacred site in the state of Uttar Pradesh in northern India. News Desk, Artforum, 20 June 2024 The 12th-century fragment of a pilaster, or a rectangular architectural column in the side of a doorframe, was previously believed to have originated from Cambodia. Francesca Aton, ARTnews.com, 18 June 2024 In the building’s northeast corner, a 2,400-square-foot fifth-floor spread, entered by way of a landmarked vestibule, exudes Gilded Age opulence with landmarked walls lined with mahogany pilasters, intricate moldings, ornate plaster ceilings, and massive arched windows. Mark David, Robb Report, 23 Dec. 2023 Still, Palais Royal, which got its name for its pink marble pilasters on its facade, features many modern updates and modifications. Emma Reynolds, Robb Report, 13 Sep. 2023 Among the innovations of these returnees was a distinctive form of architecture—a mélange of grand European and Latin American colonial styles rife with vaulted arches, ornate columns, pilasters. Tausif Noor, The New Yorker, 2 Sep. 2023 On the ground floor, there’s a discreet private security office and an oval powder room just inside the front door, while pilasters and dentil moldings embellish the grand entrance gallery. Mark David, Robb Report, 11 Aug. 2023 Aside from the pilasters supporting the Roman arch over the door, there’s little left of the bathhouse. Robert Klara, Smithsonian Magazine, 26 June 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'pilaster.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle French pilastre, from Italian pilastro

First Known Use

1573, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of pilaster was in 1573

Dictionary Entries Near pilaster

Cite this Entry

“Pilaster.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pilaster. Accessed 22 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


pi·​las·​ter ˈpī-ˌlas-tər How to pronounce pilaster (audio)
: an upright rectangular column that ornaments or helps to support a wall from which it sticks out slightly

Medical Definition


pi·​las·​ter pi-ˈlas-tər How to pronounce pilaster (audio)
: an elongated hardened ridge
especially : a longitudinal bony ridge on the back of the femur

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