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.).

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

Synonyms for buttress

6. encourage, hearten, support, inspirit, brace, back up, reinforce, shore up.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for buttressed

Contemporary Examples of buttressed

Historical Examples of buttressed

  • She was thus bulwarked and buttressed for any assault that might be hurled her way.

    Blue-grass and Broadway

    Maria Thompson Daviess

  • To all appearance he was secure in his inheritance and buttressed against any peril.

    Tristram of Blent

    Anthony Hope

  • It was not strong enough, so they buttressed it over the mouldings.

    Hugh, Bishop of Lincoln

    Charles L. Marson

  • Parenthood on the part of the worthy must be buttressed, guided, and extolled.

  • But Sir Axel and his assiduity enhanced her value and buttressed her independence.

British Dictionary definitions for buttressed



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 buttressed



early 14c., from Old French (arc) botrez "flying buttress," apparently from bouter "to thrust against," of Frankish origin (cf. Old Norse bauta "to strike, beat"), from Proto-Germanic *butan, from PIE root *bhau- "to strike" (see butt (v.)).



late 14c., literal and figurative, from buttress (n.). Related: Buttressed; buttressing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper