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See more synonyms for pilaster on Thesaurus.com
noun Architecture.
  1. a shallow rectangular feature projecting from a wall, having a capital and base and usually imitating the form of a column.
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Origin of pilaster

1565–75; pile1 (in obsolete sense “pillar”) + -aster1, modeled on Italian pilastro or Medieval Latin pīlastrum
Related formsun·der·pi·las·ter, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for pilaster

Historical Examples

  • A small head or top of a column; the head or uppermost member of a pilaster.

    Carpentry for Boys

    J. S. Zerbe

  • Further, there was a pilaster in the middle, below the central bracket.

    The Care of Books

    John Willis Clark

  • If not, come with me behind the pilaster, for I have something to say before we separate.'


    F(rancis) Marion Crawford

  • In this loggia the name of Giovan Maria is carved on a pilaster.

  • It'll cost me three and six to get that there pilaster mended.'

    The Light That Failed

    Rudyard Kipling

British Dictionary definitions for pilaster


  1. a shallow rectangular column attached to the face of a wall
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Derived Formspilastered, adjective

Word Origin

C16: from French pilastre, from Latin pīla pillar
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 pilaster


a square column, 1570s, from Middle French pilastre (1540s), from Italian pilastro, from Medieval Latin pilastrum (mid-14c.), from pila, "buttress, pile" (from Latin pila, see pillar) + Latin -aster, suffix "expressing incomplete resemblance" [Barnhart].

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper