\ ˈplin(t)th How to pronounce plinth (audio) \

Definition of plinth

1a : the lowest member of a base : subbase
b : a block upon which the moldings of an architrave or trim are stopped at the bottom
2 : a usually square block serving as a base broadly : any of various bases or lower parts
3 : a course of stones forming a continuous foundation or base course

Plinth and Architecture

"These ivy-clad arcades — / These mouldering plinths ... are they all — / All of the famed, and the colossal left…?" In these lines from "The Coliseum," Edgar Allan Poe alludes to a practical feature of classical architecture. The plinth serves the important purpose of raising the base of the column it supports above the ground, thus protecting it from dampness and mold. The humble plinth is usually a mere thick block. It's humbly named, too, for the Greek word plinthos means simply "tile" or "brick." English writers have used plinth, a shortened version of the Latin form plinthus, since the mid-16th century. The word's meaning was later extended to bases for statues, vases, or busts.

Examples of plinth in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The main bearing assembly is mounted on a solid MDF plinth, with no voids or plastic trim pieces. Mark Sparrow, Forbes, 3 May 2022 The statue and its plinth will be reinstalled at the Cross Keys Battlefield in Harrisonburg, Virginia, under the stewardship of the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation, according to a council statement. Nora Mcgreevy, Smithsonian Magazine, 18 Mar. 2022 From a distance, the back of this house looks like a sculpture set on a brick plinth. Elizabeth Evitts Dickinson, Washington Post, 23 Mar. 2022 The capsule is believed to have been planted inside the giant plinth that held the bronze equestrian figure of Lee in 1887, three years before the monument to the Confederate general was unveiled. Washington Post, 17 Dec. 2021 One outcome of the demonstrations: an empty plinth now sits in Bridgetown's main square where a bronze statue of British Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson -- a defender of the island's slave trade -- once stood. Lauren Said-moorhouse And Max Foster, CNN, 29 Nov. 2021 Arroyos’ hat, white gloves and a single rose rested on a plinth. Brittny Mejia, Los Angeles Times, 2 Feb. 2022 Last week, though, work crews dismantling the plinth found an unexpected layer of mortar about 20 feet above the ground, in the center of the stone structure. Washington Post, 22 Dec. 2021 The gray shirt features the word Bristol above the empty plinth on which the statue of 17th-century slave merchant Edward Colston long stood, with a rope hanging from it and debris scattered around. Compiled Democrat-gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, 12 Dec. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'plinth.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of plinth

1563, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for plinth

Latin plinthus, from Greek plinthos

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Last Updated

7 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Plinth.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2022.

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