[ 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.).

Nearby words

  1. buttonmold,
  2. buttonmould,
  3. buttons,
  4. buttonwood,
  5. buttony,
  6. buttress plate,
  7. buttress root,
  8. buttress thread,
  9. butts and bounds,
  10. buttstock

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 formsbut·tress·less, adjectivebut·tress·like, adjectivenon·but·tressed, adjectiveun·but·tressed, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for buttress

British Dictionary definitions for buttress


/ (ˈbʌtrɪs) /


Also called: pier a construction, usually of brick or stone, built to support a wallSee 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 (tr)

to support (a wall) with a buttress
to support or sustain

Word Origin for buttress

C13: from Old French bouterez, short for ars bouterez thrusting arch, from bouter to thrust, butt ³

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 buttress
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper