[ped-uh-muh nt]
See more synonyms for pediment on
  1. (in classical architecture) a low gable, typically triangular with a horizontal cornice and raking cornices, surmounting a colonnade, an end wall, or a major division of a façade.
  2. any imitation of this, often fancifully treated, used to crown an opening, a monument, etc., or to form part of a decorative scheme.
  3. Geology. a gently sloping rock surface at the foot of a steep slope, as of a mountain, usually thinly covered with alluvium.

Origin of pediment

1655–65; earlier pedament, pedement, alteration, by association with Latin pēs (stem ped-) foot, of earlier peremint, perhaps an unlearned alteration of pyramid; (def 3) by construal as pedi- + -ment
Related formsped·i·men·tal [ped-uh-men-tl] /ˌpɛd əˈmɛn tl/, adjectiveped·i·ment·ed [ped-uh-men-tid, -muh n-] /ˈpɛd əˌmɛn tɪd, -mən-/, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for pediment

Historical Examples of pediment

  • Occasionally there were a cornice and pediment over the entrance.


    Thomas Roger Smith

  • At centre, under the gallery, the entrance-door, with twisted posts and pediment.

  • Could he but gain the pediment in this wise, the rest of the descent would not be difficult.

    Gerald Fitzgerald

    Charles James Lever

  • Above in the pediment are a Virgin and Child with kneeling angels.

    Portuguese Architecture

    Walter Crum Watson

  • The main cornice is larger, but the pediment is perfectly plain.

    Portuguese Architecture

    Walter Crum Watson

British Dictionary definitions for pediment


  1. a low-pitched gable, esp one that is triangular, as used in classical architecture
  2. a gently sloping rock surface, formed through denudation under arid conditions
Derived Formspedimental, adjective

Word Origin for pediment

C16: from obsolete periment, perhaps workman's corruption of pyramid
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 pediment

triangular part of the facade of a Greek-style building, 1660s, alteration of periment, peremint (1590s), of unknown origin, "said to be a workmen's term" [OED]; probably a dialectal garbling of pyramid, the connection perhaps being the triangular shape. Sometimes associated with ped- "foot." Other possibilities include Latin pedamentum "vine-stalk, prop," and Italian pedamento, which at the time this word entered English meant "foundation, basework, footing." Meaning "base, foundation" is from 1726, by inflience of Latin pedem "foot."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

pediment in Science


  1. A broad, gently sloping rock surface at the base of a steeper slope such as a mountain, often covered with alluvium. Pediments are formed through the exposure of bedrock by erosional processes, such as the flow of water. Pediments are usually found in arid regions where there is little vegetation to hold the overlying soil.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.