plinth

noun
\ 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 In a high-ceilinged room adjacent to the soundstage, Jakissa Taylor Semple, who goes by DJ Kiss, was spinning records on a plinth surrounded by couches and candles. Dan Piepenbring, The New Yorker, "The Book of Prince," 2 Sep. 2019 Numeroventi, Florence There's a Baroque statue of Hercules in the courtyard of Palazzo Galli Tassi, on a plinth once occupied by Michelangelo's David. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, "These 6 European Apartments Are Basically Private Design Hotels," 23 Aug. 2019 Instead, Brooklyn officials selected Mr. Estern’s design for a bronze portrait bust of Kennedy on an oblong marble plinth, which now stands in a circular court in Grand Army Plaza. Sam Roberts, BostonGlobe.com, "Neil Estern, sculptor of monumental public works, 93," 31 July 2019 Instead, Brooklyn officials selected Mr. Estern’s design for a bronze portrait bust of Kennedy on an oblong marble plinth, which now stands in a circular court in Grand Army Plaza. Sam Roberts, New York Times, "Neil Estern, Sculptor of Monumental Public Works, Dies at 93," 30 July 2019 Her avid interest in M idcentury M odern furniture was clearly passed down to her daughter, as seen in plinths bearing six Modernist chairs. Sharon Mizota, Los Angeles Times, "A love letter to mom in 72 photos: Artist Susan Mogul’s latest, now on view," 20 Aug. 2019 On a larger scale is Robert Arbogast’s take on Confederate war statues, whose plinth identifies it as a likeness of Robert E. Lee. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, "In the galleries: At two Washington spaces, art of a political caliber," 16 Aug. 2019 The first allusion to the environmental origins of the pandemic is a solar panel atop Weimar’s famous Goethe-Schiller Monument, connected to dozens of batteries crowding its plinth. Maria Garcia, latimes.com, "Review: Zombies are the threat in the dark fairy tale ‘Endzeit — Ever After’," 25 June 2019 Our tour concludes outside at sunset, in the Crater Bowl, where four stone plinths encircle the Crater’s Eye. Jay Cheshes, WSJ, "James Turrell’s New Masterpiece in the Desert," 14 Jan. 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

The first known use of plinth was in 1563

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More Definitions for plinth

plinth

noun
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

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about plinth

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