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[buh-tris] /ˈbʌ trɪs/
any external prop or support built to steady a structure by opposing its outward thrusts, especially a projecting support built into or against the outside of a masonry wall.
any prop or support.
a thing shaped like a buttress, as a tree trunk with a widening base.
a bony or horny protuberance, especially on a horse's hoof.
verb (used with object)
to support by a buttress; prop up.
to give encouragement or support to (a person, plan, etc.).
Origin of buttress
1350-1400; Middle English butresOld French (arc) boterez thrusting (arch) nominative singular of boteret (accusative), equivalent to boter- abutment (perhaps < Germanic; see butt3) + -et -et
Related forms
buttressless, adjective
buttresslike, adjective
nonbuttressed, adjective
unbuttressed, adjective
6. encourage, hearten, support, inspirit, brace, back up, reinforce, shore up. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for buttressed
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She's up against the existing divorce law, and that's buttressed by every Church, and every dull married woman in the country.

    The Sixth Sense Stephen McKenna
  • To all appearance he was secure in his inheritance and buttressed against any peril.

    Tristram of Blent Anthony Hope
  • It rose on a plain in the form of a terrace, buttressed on volcanic rocks three hundred feet high.

  • Parenthood on the part of the worthy must be buttressed, guided, and extolled.

  • Without, the chapel wall, buttressed and lofty, extended at right angles to it.

    Haviland's Chum Bertram Mitford
  • But Sir Axel and his assiduity enhanced her value and buttressed her independence.

    Mrs. Maxon Protests Anthony Hope
  • Between them is the buttressed trunk many yards in breadth, dark and frowning as the battlements of a fortress.

    The Death Shot Mayne Reid
British Dictionary definitions for buttressed


Also called pier. a construction, usually of brick or stone, built to support a wall See also flying buttress
any support or prop
something shaped like a buttress, such as a projection from a mountainside
either of the two pointed rear parts of a horse's hoof
verb (transitive)
to support (a wall) with a buttress
to support or sustain
Word Origin
C13: from Old French bouterez, short for ars bouterez thrusting arch, from bouter to thrust, butt³
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 buttressed



early 14c., from Old French (arc) botrez "flying buttress," apparently from bouter "to thrust against," of Frankish origin (cf. Old Norse bauta "to strike, beat"), from Proto-Germanic *butan, from PIE root *bhau- "to strike" (see butt (v.)).


late 14c., literal and figurative, from buttress (n.). Related: Buttressed; buttressing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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