• synonyms


[ih-spal-yer, -yey]
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  1. a trellis or framework on which the trunk and branches of fruit trees or shrubs are trained to grow in one plane.
  2. a plant so trained.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to train on an espalier.
  2. to furnish with an espalier.
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Origin of espalier

1655–65; < French, Middle French: trellis < Italian spalliera back rest, espalier, equivalent to spall(a) shoulder, support + -iera -ier2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

lattice, arbor, framework, screen, treillage, espalier, grille

Examples from the Web for espalier

Historical Examples

British Dictionary definitions for espalier


  1. an ornamental shrub or fruit tree that has been trained to grow flat, as against a wall
  2. the trellis, framework, or arrangement of stakes on which such plants are trained
  3. the method used to produce such plants
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  1. (tr) to train (a plant) on an espalier
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Word Origin

C17: from French: trellis, from Old Italian: shoulder supports, from spalla shoulder, from Late Latin spatula
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 espalier


1660s, from French espalier (16c.), from Italian spalliera "stake-works shoulder-high," from spalla "shoulder," from Latin spatula (see spatula).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper