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baluster

[bal-uh-ster]
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noun
  1. Architecture. any of a number of closely spaced supports for a railing.
  2. balusters, a balustrade.
  3. any of various symmetrical supports, as furniture legs or spindles, tending to swell toward the bottom or top.
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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 formsbal·us·tered, adjective
Can be confusedbaluster balustrade banister
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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.


British Dictionary definitions for baluster

baluster

noun
  1. any of a set of posts supporting a rail or coping
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adjective
  1. (of a shape) swelling at the base and rising in a concave curve to a narrow stem or necka baluster goblet stem
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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

Word Origin and History for baluster

n.

"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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper