• synonyms


or can·ta·le·ver

[kan-tl-ee-ver, -ev-er]
See more synonyms for cantilever on Thesaurus.com
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Aeronautics. a form of wing construction in which no external bracing is used.
  4. Architecture. a bracket for supporting a balcony, cornice, etc.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to project in the manner of a cantilever.
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verb (used with object)
  1. 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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for cantilever

Historical Examples

  • It is more than likely, then, that he will turn to the cantilever.

    The Modern Railroad

    Edward Hungerford

  • We project our life forward as we build a cantilever bridge.

    The Meaning of Faith

    Harry Emerson Fosdick

  • Other bridges have since been built, among them a cantilever.

  • Two things have helped to put up a cantilever across the gulf.

    Modern Essays

    John Macy

  • Then he asked me whether it was a suspension bridge or a cantilever.

British Dictionary definitions for cantilever


    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
  1. a wing or tailplane of an aircraft that has no external bracing or support
  2. a part of a beam or a structure projecting outwards beyond its support
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  1. (tr) to construct (a building member, beam, etc) so that it is fixed at one end only
  2. (intr) to project like a cantilever
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Word Origin

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

Word Origin and History for cantilever


1660s, probably from cant (n.2) + lever, but earliest form (c.1610) was cantlapper. First element also might be Spanish can "dog," architect's term for an end of timber jutting out of a wall, on which beams rested. Related: Cantilevered.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

cantilever in Science


[kăntl-ē′vər, -ĕv′ər]
  1. 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.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.