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[pahy-lon] /ˈpaɪ lɒn/
a marking post or tower for guiding aviators, frequently used in races.
a relatively tall structure at the side of a gate, bridge, or avenue, marking an entrance or approach.
a monumental tower forming the entrance to an ancient Egyptian temple, consisting either of a pair of tall quadrilateral masonry masses with sloping sides and a doorway between them or of one such mass pierced with a doorway.
a steel tower or mast carrying high-tension lines, telephone wires, or other cables and lines.
Aeronautics. a finlike device used to attach engines, auxiliary fuel tanks, bombs, etc., to an aircraft wing or fuselage.
Origin of pylon
First recorded in 1840-50, pylon is from the Greek word pylṓn gateway, gate tower Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for pylon
Historical Examples
  • At the top of the worn stone stairway, cut in the pylon, I met Biddy.

    It Happened in Egypt C. N. Williamson
  • pylon, or Pro-pylon, the portal or front of an Egyptian temple.

    Architecture Thomas Roger Smith
  • Six days had gone by, and Queen Neter-Tua starved in the pylon tower.

    Morning Star H. Rider Haggard
  • Through the pylon window-place crept the first grey light of dawn.

    Morning Star H. Rider Haggard
  • Remember when we starved in the pylon tower at Memphis, and what befell us there.

    Morning Star H. Rider Haggard
  • From the pylon a superb view may be gained of the ruins of Karnak.

    The Critic in the Orient George Hamlin Fitch
  • Then the Priest went to the pylon and stood in the shadow of the gate.

    The World's Desire H. Rider Haggard and Andrew Lang
  • Knowest thou that she waited for thee there by the pylon gate?

    The World's Desire H. Rider Haggard and Andrew Lang
  • I hurried through them, and reached the entrance to the pylon that is at the outer gate.

    Cleopatra H. Rider Haggard
  • This pylon is 376 feet wide at the widest part and 50 feet thick.

British Dictionary definitions for pylon


a large vertical steel tower-like structure supporting high-tension electrical cables
a post or tower for guiding pilots or marking a turning point in a race
a streamlined aircraft structure for attaching an engine pod, external fuel tank, etc, to the main body of the aircraft
a monumental gateway, such as one at the entrance to an ancient Egyptian temple
a temporary artificial leg
Word Origin
C19: from Greek pulōn a gateway
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 pylon

1823, "gateway to an Egyptian temple," from Greek pylon "gateway," from pyle "gate, wing of a pair of double gates; an entrance, entrance into a country; mountain pass; narrow strait of water," of unknown origin. Meaning "tower for guiding aviators" (1909) led to that of "steel tower for high-tension wires" (1923).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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