span·​drel | \ ˈspan-drəl How to pronounce spandrel (audio) \
variants: or less commonly spandril

Definition of spandrel

1 : the sometimes ornamented space between the right or left exterior curve of an arch and an enclosing right angle
2 : the triangular space beneath the string of a stair

Illustration of spandrel

Illustration of spandrel

S spandrel 1

Examples of spandrel in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Also concrete, also with an open-spandrel design, 280 feet high, built in 1932. Christopher Reynolds, Los Angeles Times, "Think you’ve tried every hike in L.A.? Think again. The Bridge to Nowhere awaits," 13 Mar. 2021 The next comeback line to myself was that, after hundreds of millions of years of evolution, our immune system—second in complexity only to the brain—could not have been some biological spandrel, a useless byproduct of the natural selection process. Gary Stix, Scientific American, "Can My Blood Really Help COVID Patients?," 3 Nov. 2020 Everything about Lever House feels open, light, exuberant, with those colorful spandrels of blue-green glass and thin stainless fittings. Michael Kimmelman, New York Times, "Classic Skyscrapers Define New York. Take a Virtual Tour.," 22 Apr. 2020 The detailing, the flatness of the spandrels, the geometry of the vertical mullions in relation to the horizontal paneling. Michael Kimmelman, New York Times, "Classic Skyscrapers Define New York. Take a Virtual Tour.," 22 Apr. 2020 The blueprints showed that these rooftop decorations, known as antefixes, were in fact baseballs, ornaments that echoed the baseball-adorned terra-cotta spandrels above the pilasters. John Freeman Gill, New York Times, "A Brooklyn Dodgers Fan Who Never Gave Up on Ebbets Field," 27 Mar. 2020 The span that went down was the 1905 Milwaukee Light, Heat & Traction (MLH&T) spandrel-arch bridge over the Root River, near 98th Street and Layton Avenue. Milwaukee, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "112 years of rail history ends with demolition of interurban rail bridge in Greenfield," 3 Jan. 2018 As the new Le Meridien hotel, developers restored the building's original spandrels and replaced the clear glass. Diane Cowen, Houston Chronicle, "Houston Mod honors preservation of mid-century buildings, arts," 21 Dec. 2017

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for spandrel

Middle English spandrell, from Anglo-French spaunder, from espandre to spread out — more at spawn

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The first known use of spandrel was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

16 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Spandrel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

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