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or bannister

[ban-uh-ster] /ˈbæn ə stər/
a baluster.
Sometimes, banisters. the balustrade of a staircase.
Origin of banister
1660-70; apparently by dissimilation from earlier barrister, alteration of baluster, perhaps by association with bar1
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 banisters
Historical Examples
  • He leaped up and ran to the top of the stairs and leant over the banisters.

    The Foolish Lovers St. John G. Ervine
  • "You're an awful fool, Lizzie," he said crossly, leaning over the banisters.

    The Foolish Lovers St. John G. Ervine
  • But not once did he yield, not once did he lean over the banisters and call to her to come up.

    Doctor Pascal Emile Zola
  • "I was going to make myself some tea," he said, with his hand still on the banisters.

  • It upset her more than anything, and again and again she struck the banisters with vexation.

  • Now lave the way if you plase, and let me got a howld of the banisters.

    Jack Hinton Charles James Lever
  • The pots went in a stream down the stairs, he clung to the pillar of the banisters.

    The Prussian Officer D. H. Lawrence
  • To carry on a conversation over the banisters is also equally bad.

    The Etiquette of To-day Edith B. Ordway
  • I'd like to take him down by way of the banisters,—just give him one shove, and let him fly.

    We Ten

    Lyda Farrington Kraus
  • The girl, under a spell of the Dead Man's will, came out to the banisters.

British Dictionary definitions for banisters


plural noun
the railing and supporting balusters on a staircase; balustrade
Word Origin
C17: altered from baluster
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 banisters



1660s, unexplained corruption of baluster. As late as 1830 condemned as "vulgar," it is now accepted. Surname Bannister is from Old French banastre "basket," hence, "basket-maker."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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