scaf·​fold·​ing ˈska-fəl-diŋ How to pronounce scaffolding (audio)
: a system of scaffolds
… photographers were allowed, three at a time, to ascend the elaborate scaffoldingEric Scigliano
also : material for scaffolds
: a support system or structure likened to a system of scaffolds
… in his readings and talks with authors, he is seeking theoretical scaffolding for his actions …John F. Dickerson
especially, education : a system or framework of support provided by an instructor to help a student reach the next level of learning
By identifying the next skills just above the child's current skill level, then providing scaffolding (or assistance) in a way that helps the child display the identified skills accurately, and then fading out the need for scaffolding, you can help a child to learn new things and become more independent. Heather Gilmore
Teachers should look for tools that help them easily adjust instructional scaffolding from assignment to assignment and from student to student—allowing them to meet students where they are as they learn to write for authentic audiences. Troy Hicks

Examples of scaffolding in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Because the intensity of peanut butter, given a sort of scaffolding of a little bit of vinegar, sweetness... Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, 5 Oct. 2023 Last week a big array of scaffolding — akin to a sidewalk shed, but indoors — and a crane went up in Moynihan Train Hall over the escalators leading down to Tracks 13 and 14. Christopher Bonanos, Curbed, 3 Nov. 2023 Back when hip-hop was emerging from its adolescence, registering to vote, and taking its first legal drink, Blige’s voice became its scaffolding and architecture, the thing that balanced it. Zandria Robinson, Glamour, 1 Nov. 2023 His choice of time frame supplies some handy sociopolitical scaffolding (the Vietnam War), a few retro stylistic flourishes (an aggressive zoom lens, old-school MPAA and distributor logos, digitally applied scratch marks) and various homages to the questing, adventurous spirit of New Hollywood. Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times, 26 Oct. 2023 One possible explanation for the Milky Way’s stellar slowpokes is that our galaxy is extraordinarily deficient in dark matter, the invisible substance thought to serve as gravitational scaffolding for cosmic structures. Adam Mann, Scientific American, 11 Oct. 2023 In crop fields, on construction scaffolding, beside drive-through lanes, working conditions are getting hotter, igniting a small but fast-growing industry to cool workers down. Jacob Bogage, Washington Post, 8 Sep. 2023 The Metropolis Building, a gorgeous Beaux-Arts icon, is also a sight to see from here, but it is currently being restored and may be hidden under scaffolding. Jamie Ditaranto, Travel + Leisure, 18 Aug. 2023 Tau proteins, which stabilize the scaffolding that gives neurons their structure, fall off when a cell is stressed. Celia Ford, WIRED, 12 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'scaffolding.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of scaffolding was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near scaffolding

Cite this Entry

“Scaffolding.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


scaf·​fold·​ing ˈskaf-əl-diŋ How to pronounce scaffolding (audio)
: a system of scaffolds
: materials for scaffolds

More from Merriam-Webster on scaffolding

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