scaf·​fold | \ ˈska-fəld also -ˌfōld How to pronounce scaffold (audio) \

Definition of scaffold

1a : a temporary or movable platform for workers (such as bricklayers, painters, or miners) to stand or sit on when working at a height above the floor or ground
b : a platform on which a criminal is executed (as by hanging or beheading)
c : a platform at a height above ground or floor level
2 : a supporting framework

Examples of scaffold in a Sentence

The condemned man was led to the scaffold.
Recent Examples on the Web Another company, in New York, creates a metal scaffold that is meticulously bent so as to re-create the original face angles, so MD Anderson's surgeons don't have to bend an off-the-shelf part into position during the reconstruction. Jacqueline Detwiler, Popular Mechanics, "Health," 1 Feb. 2020 Leave a collection of small stems at the center of the vase to provide leaves that protect the trunk and scaffolds from sun burn. Calvin Finch,, "Calvin Finch: Your guide to pruning fruit trees and bushes," 23 Jan. 2020 Though Lopez preserves Forster’s moral seriousness, his play breaks free from its literary scaffold. Rebecca Mead, The New Yorker, "How Matthew Lopez Transformed “Howards End” Into an Epic Play About Gay Life," 2 Sep. 2019 That means the window has to be replaced from the outside, and requires use of a swing stage — the kind of scaffold that is attached to the roof of high-rise buildings that worker stands on when repairing the exterior of buildings. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Cracked window high up in new downtown courthouse closes sidewalk for weeks," 15 Sep. 2019 Exactly 371 years ago on a bitterly cold Jan. 30, 1649, the king stepped out of the Banqueting House in Central London onto a scaffold, where his executioner awaited with an ax. Fox News, "King’s stained execution vest tells grisly tale, set to go on display," 31 Jan. 2020 Researchers assembled rhodium atoms into a scaffold structure, a term more often used in drug research. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "New Molecule Harnesses 50 Percent More Solar Spectrum Than Ever Before," 23 Jan. 2020 After implantation, the cells grow and replace the silken scaffold, which eventually degenerates into amino acids. Harini Barath, Scientific American, "Wild Silkworms Produce Proteins Primed for Bioprinting," 24 Nov. 2019 First, there’s that central scaffold, connecting the center of each face. Dave Linkletter, Popular Mechanics, "The Amazing Math Inside the Rubik’s Cube," 16 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'scaffold.' 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 scaffold

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for scaffold

Middle English, from Anglo-French scaffald, alteration of Old French eschaafauz, escafaut, alteration of chaafaut, from Vulgar Latin *catafalicum — more at catafalque

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Time Traveler for scaffold

Time Traveler

The first known use of scaffold was in the 14th century

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Statistics for scaffold

Last Updated

19 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Scaffold.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for scaffold


How to pronounce scaffold (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of scaffold

: a temporary or movable platform or structure on which a person stands or sits while working high above the floor or ground
: a platform or structure on which criminals are killed by being hanged or beheaded


scaf·​fold | \ ˈska-fəld How to pronounce scaffold (audio) \

Kids Definition of scaffold

1 : a raised platform built as a support for workers and their tools and materials
2 : a platform on which executions take place

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