\ 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

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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 Models of architectural and design details sit on a large plinth in the middle of the gallery., "The installation nods outward to the space it inhabits. Even as rhymes ricochet about, the whole seems to eddy from the walls into the room’s center.," 31 Oct. 2019 Rain poured as a crane hoisted her 650-pound body from a flatbed truck onto the brick plinth where her twin predecessor swayed for more than a decade. Domenica Bongiovanni, Indianapolis Star, "Ann Dancing is back. Here's what's new about the Mass Ave. sculpture.," 30 Oct. 2019 The pipes guests sat on during the runway show have since become plinths for jewelry. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "“After the Apocalypse…Maybe You Try to Make a Wedding Dress”: Marine Serre Discusses Her Spring 2020 Collection," 16 Oct. 2019 After crews took down the four bronze statues under orders from then-Mayor Catherine E. Pugh in August 2017, suggestions for what to do with them included destroying them and restoring them to their plinths. Colin Campbell, Washington Post, "Baltimore’s Confederate statues were removed in the dead of night. Two years later, they languish on a city lot.," 5 Oct. 2019 After crews took down the four bronze statues under orders from then-Mayor Catherine Pugh in August 2017, suggestions for what to do with them ranged from destroying them to restoring them to their plinths. Colin Campbell,, "Baltimore’s Confederate statues were spirited away one night. Two years later, they languish on a city lot.," 26 Sep. 2019 Historians believe that Aurangzeb also destroyed the ancient Keshavnath temple, and built the Shahi Idgah mosque on its plinth. Kuwar Singh, Quartz India, "The Ayodhya dispute has cast a shadow on the future of these Indian mosques," 9 Nov. 2019 The characters of Venus, The Captain and Queen Vicky stand or sit around the monument’s plinth. Caroline Bressey, Quartz Africa, "Britain still fails to acknowledge its legacy of slavery—memorializing its victims would be a start," 26 Oct. 2019 Quintas The Dove sofa in Rosewood silk velvet with a 22-karat antiqued gold plinth; Melissa McCarthy is a fan of the brand. Abigail Stone, The Hollywood Reporter, "8 Pieces of Lavish Furniture Inspired by 'Call Me By Your Name'," 16 Oct. 2019

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.

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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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Time Traveler for plinth

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The first known use of plinth was in 1563

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Last Updated

3 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Plinth.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 27 January 2020.

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More Definitions for plinth


How to pronounce plinth (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of plinth

: a block of stone or wood that is used as the base for a pillar, statue, etc.

More from Merriam-Webster on plinth

Britannica English: Translation of plinth for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about plinth

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one that suddenly gains wealth or power

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