a horizontal architectural member supporting the weight above an opening, as a window or a door.

Also British, lin·tol.

Origin of lintel

1350–1400; Middle English lyntel < Middle French lintel, dissimilated variant of *linter < Latin līmitāris orig., belonging to or indicating a boundary; later taken as synonym of līmināris orig., of the threshold. See limit, -ar1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for lintel

Historical Examples of lintel

  • He stood swaying—then leaned against the lintel of the door.

  • She was about to slam the door in my face, but I pushed my foot between it and the lintel.

  • He ended with a hollow groan and the weight of his body against the lintel.

    The Long Roll

    Mary Johnston

  • The height of the tablinum at the lintel should be one eighth more than its width.

  • The height of the lintel should be equivalent to the width of the jambs at the top.

British Dictionary definitions for lintel



a horizontal beam, as over a door or window

Word Origin for lintel

C14: via Old French probably from Late Latin līmitāris (unattested) of the boundary, influenced in meaning by līminaris of the threshold
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 lintel

early 14c., from Old French lintel "threshold" (13c., Modern French linteau), of uncertain origin, probably a variant of lintier, from Vulgar Latin *limitaris "threshold," from Latin limitaris (adj.) "that is on the border," from limes (genitive limitis) "border, boundary" (see limit (n.)). Altered by influence of Latin limen "threshold."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper