\ 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 Situated at a spot where police and protesters had regularly done battle, the plaza contained a stone plinth supporting a bronze statue of a historic Chilean figure, General Baquedano, on horseback. Jon Lee Anderson, The New Yorker, 6 June 2022 The entire plinth is wrapped in one of three durable foil finishes. Mark Sparrow, Forbes, 3 May 2022 On a nearby plinth, the breasts, buttocks, fists, forearms and stomachs of his friends and lovers were strewn about, waiting to join the 47-year-old artist’s sculptural collages. New York Times, 20 June 2022 During the estallido, authorities had removed the statue, leaving only the plinth, which was now covered in graffiti, as were many nearby buildings, some of which had also been torched. Jon Lee Anderson, The New Yorker, 6 June 2022 Sunk into the ground at the base of each tree was a small concrete plinth to which was affixed a tiny copper name tag. John Kelly, Washington Post, 31 May 2022 Amid the wreckage, a Second World War memorial, featuring a life-size Soviet tank, still sat atop a hulking plinth. Luke Mogelson, The New Yorker, 2 May 2022 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 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

Learn More About plinth

Listen to Our Podcast About plinth

Dictionary Entries Near plinth




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for plinth

Last Updated

30 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Plinth.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on plinth

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for plinth

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Odd Habits and Quirks

  • image1926873504
  • Which of the following best describes an easily irritated person?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!