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[ped-uh-muh nt] /ˈpɛd ə mənt/
(in classical architecture) a low gable, typically triangular with a horizontal cornice and raking cornices, surmounting a colonnade, an end wall, or a major division of a façade.
any imitation of this, often fancifully treated, used to crown an opening, a monument, etc., or to form part of a decorative scheme.
Geology. a gently sloping rock surface at the foot of a steep slope, as of a mountain, usually thinly covered with alluvium.
Origin of pediment
1655-65; earlier pedament, pedement, alteration, by association with Latin pēs (stem ped-) foot, of earlier peremint, perhaps an unlearned alteration of pyramid; (def 3) by construal as pedi- + -ment
Related forms
[ped-uh-men-tl] /ˌpɛd əˈmɛn tl/ (Show IPA),
[ped-uh-men-tid, -muh n-] /ˈpɛd əˌmɛn tɪd, -mən-/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for pediment
Historical Examples
  • Occasionally there were a cornice and pediment over the entrance.

    Architecture Thomas Roger Smith
  • At centre, under the gallery, the entrance-door, with twisted posts and pediment.

    Erdgeist (Earth-Spirit) Frank Wedekind
  • Could he but gain the pediment in this wise, the rest of the descent would not be difficult.

    Gerald Fitzgerald Charles James Lever
  • Above in the pediment are a Virgin and Child with kneeling angels.

    Portuguese Architecture Walter Crum Watson
  • The main cornice is larger, but the pediment is perfectly plain.

    Portuguese Architecture Walter Crum Watson
  • The shield in the centre of the pediment bears the arms of Dean Honywood.

    The Care of Books John Willis Clark
  • Located within the pediment at both houses is an elliptical ventilator.

    Huntley Tony P. Wrenn
  • The pediment of the Palais Biron is brilliant in the sunlight.

  • At the top of the pediment is a statue of St. Michael (16th century).

  • The style of the pediment is after that of the Athenian Acropolis.

British Dictionary definitions for pediment


a low-pitched gable, esp one that is triangular, as used in classical architecture
a gently sloping rock surface, formed through denudation under arid conditions
Derived Forms
pedimental, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from obsolete periment, perhaps workman's corruption of pyramid
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 pediment

triangular part of the facade of a Greek-style building, 1660s, alteration of periment, peremint (1590s), of unknown origin, "said to be a workmen's term" [OED]; probably a dialectal garbling of pyramid, the connection perhaps being the triangular shape. Sometimes associated with ped- "foot." Other possibilities include Latin pedamentum "vine-stalk, prop," and Italian pedamento, which at the time this word entered English meant "foundation, basework, footing." Meaning "base, foundation" is from 1726, by inflience of Latin pedem "foot."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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pediment in Science
A broad, gently sloping rock surface at the base of a steeper slope such as a mountain, often covered with alluvium. Pediments are formed through the exposure of bedrock by erosional processes, such as the flow of water. Pediments are usually found in arid regions where there is little vegetation to hold the overlying soil.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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