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

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 At first glance, it could have been mistaken for a houseboat—except for the large scaffold that protruded from the top of the superstructure. David Kindy, Smithsonian Magazine, "This Odd Early Flying Machine Made History, But Didn’t Have the Right Stuff," 5 May 2021 The bell is cast, and an army of townspeople gather to raise it on a scaffold, for a test. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, "The Drenching Richness of Andrei Tarkovsky," 8 Feb. 2021 The owners erected scaffold-like supports in the sanctuary several years ago to prop up deteriorating structural beams. Eric Roper, Star Tribune, "A historic Minneapolis church is crumbling. Can anyone save it?," 4 Feb. 2021 Scaling up for constructing roads would bring additional engineering challenges; for instance, getting the right ratio of supporting scaffold to hardening material. Matt Simon, Wired, "The Mantis Shrimp Inspires a New Material—Made by Bacteria," 22 Feb. 2021 By the time the prince comes to witness the test, however, the boy is cowering under the scaffold, his confidence gone. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, "The Drenching Richness of Andrei Tarkovsky," 8 Feb. 2021 The framework of all your decisions and efforts as parents is the three pillars of your scaffold: structure, support, and encouragement. Susanna Schrobsdorff, Time, "The Strange Allure of a Flight to Nowhere (and Other Places We're Desperate to Go)," 7 Feb. 2021 Prune trees when young to create a strong scaffold and minimize upward growth. oregonlive, "Early rose pruning could cause dieback, result in re-prune next spring: Ask an expert," 16 Jan. 2021 Outside, a wooden scaffold had been erected on the National Mall, a rope noose dangling at the ready. Michael Biesecker,, "Who were they? Records reveal Trump supporters who stormed Capitol," 11 Jan. 2021

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

16 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Scaffold.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for scaffold



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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