• synonyms


noun Architecture.
  1. any of several spandrels, in the form of spherical triangles, forming a transition between the circular plan of a dome and the polygonal plan of the supporting masonry.
  2. any of several masonry devices, as squinches or trompes, for forming a transition between a circular or polygonal construction, as a dome or lantern, and supporting masonry of a different plan.
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  1. functioning as, or substituting for, a pendentive: pendentive corbeling.
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Origin of pendentive

1720–30; pendent + -ive, modeled on French pendentif
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for pendentive

Historical Examples

  • Such a form of pendentive is rarely seen in works of this age.

    Some Account of Gothic Architecture in Spain

    George Edmund Street

  • Stalactite work is employed in the pendentive of the smaller apses and in the capitals of the columns carrying the pointed arches.

  • The pendentive under the dome is similar in its construction to those under the dome of the curious church of Ainay, at Lyons.

  • In these examples a pendentive is formed at each angle of the square, and thus the octagonal base is formed for the vault.

  • The angel figures of this pendentive are among the most beautiful and characteristic of the myriad throng of the cupola.


    Estelle M. Hurll

British Dictionary definitions for pendentive


  1. any of four triangular sections of vaulting with concave sides, positioned at a corner of a rectangular space to support a circular or polygonal dome
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Word Origin

C18: from French pendentif, from Latin pendens hanging, from pendere to hang
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 pendentive


1727, from French pendentif (mid-16c.), from Latin pendentem (nominative pendens) "hanging," present participle of pendere "to hang" (see pendent (adj.)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper