• synonyms


or ban·nis·ter

  1. a baluster.
  2. Sometimes banisters. the balustrade of a staircase.
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Origin of banister

1660–70; apparently by dissimilation from earlier barrister, alteration of baluster, perhaps by association with bar1
Can be confusedbaluster balustrade banister
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


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.

British Dictionary definitions for banisters



pl n
  1. the railing and supporting balusters on a staircase; balustrade
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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

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."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper