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[bal-uh-ster] /ˈbæl ə stər/
Architecture. any of a number of closely spaced supports for a railing.
balusters, a balustrade.
any of various symmetrical supports, as furniture legs or spindles, tending to swell toward the bottom or top.
Origin of baluster
1595-1605; < French, Middle French balustre < Italian balaustro pillar shaped like the calyx of the pomegranate flower, ultimately < Latin balaustium < Greek balaústion pomegranate flower
Related forms
balustered, adjective
Can be confused
baluster, balustrade, banister. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for baluster
Historical Examples
  • “Thou hast been in trouble,” she said, leaning on the baluster above him.

    The Armourer's Prentices Charlotte M. Yonge
  • Fred took his place, and shook the baluster, then the other—its fellow—but there was no result.

    Crown and Sceptre George Manville Fenn
  • Clutching with either hand the baluster I leaned over, listening.

    Memoirs of a Midget Walter de la Mare
  • Dorothy looked over the baluster at the humming top, but said nothing.

  • Sometimes the mid-wall shaft is a baluster, turned in a lathe.

  • Henry leant against the baluster and sobbed, not knowing what else to do.

    The Stokesley Secret Charlotte M. Yonge
  • This stairway had no baluster, and was not safe in the dark for strangers to the house.

    The Entailed Hat George Alfred Townsend
  • He laid on the broad marble top of the baluster a little chamois-bag.

    The Voice in the Fog

    Harold MacGrath
  • The wild spasm passed, she rises to her feet, and stands leaning upon the baluster rail, looking out and listening.

    Gwen Wynn Mayne Reid
  • When he last saw his betrothed alive, it was in that same place, and almost in a similar attitude—leaning over the baluster rail.

    Gwen Wynn Mayne Reid
British Dictionary definitions for baluster


any of a set of posts supporting a rail or coping
(of a shape) swelling at the base and rising in a concave curve to a narrow stem or neck: a baluster goblet stem
Word Origin
C17: from French balustre, from Italian balaustro pillar resembling a pomegranate flower, ultimately from Greek balaustion
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for baluster

"support for a railing," c.1600, from French balustre, from Italian balaustro "pillar," from balausta "flower of the wild pomegranate," from Greek balaustion (perhaps of Semitic origin, cf. Aramaic balatz "flower of the wild pomegranate"). Staircase uprights had lyre-like double curves, like the calyx tube of the pomegranate flower.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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