or can·ta·le·ver

[ kan-tl-ee-ver, -ev-er ]
/ ˈkæn tlˌi vər, -ˌɛv ər /


any rigid structural member projecting from a vertical support, especially one in which the projection is great in relation to the depth, so that the upper part is in tension and the lower part in compression.
Building Trades, Civil Engineering. any rigid construction extending horizontally well beyond its vertical support, used as a structural element of a bridge (cantilever bridge ), building foundation, etc.
Aeronautics. a form of wing construction in which no external bracing is used.
Architecture. a bracket for supporting a balcony, cornice, etc.

verb (used without object)

to project in the manner of a cantilever.

verb (used with object)

to construct in the manner of a cantilever.



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Also can·ta·li·ver [kan-tl-ee-ver] /ˈkæn tlˌi vər/ .

Origin of cantilever

1660–70; perhaps cant2 + -i- + lever Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for cantilever

British Dictionary definitions for cantilever

/ (ˈkæntɪˌliːvə) /


  1. a beam, girder, or structural framework that is fixed at one end and is free at the other
  2. (as modifier)a cantilever wing
a wing or tailplane of an aircraft that has no external bracing or support
a part of a beam or a structure projecting outwards beyond its support


(tr) to construct (a building member, beam, etc) so that it is fixed at one end only
(intr) to project like a cantilever

Word Origin for cantilever

C17: perhaps from cant ² + lever
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

Scientific definitions for cantilever

[ kăntl-ē′vər, -ĕv′ər ]

A projecting structure, such as a beam, that is supported at one end and that carries a load at the other end or along its length. Cantilevers are important structures in the design of bridges and cranes.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.