[ skaf-uhld, -ohld ]
See synonyms for: scaffoldscaffoldedscaffolding on

  1. a temporary structure for holding workers and materials during the construction, repair, or decoration of a building.

  2. an elevated platform on which a criminal is executed, usually by hanging.

  1. a raised platform or stage for shows or performances, the seating of spectators, etc.

  2. any raised framework or system of such frameworks.

  3. a suspended platform used by painters, window washers, and others for working on a tall structure, such as a skyscraper.

  4. Cell Biology, Genetics. any of various extracellular framelike components found naturally in genomic material and synthesized for tissue engineering.

  5. Metallurgy. any piling or fusion of materials in a blast furnace, obstructing the flow of gases and preventing the uniform descent of the charge.

verb (used with object)
  1. to furnish (a building or other structure) with a system of temporary platforms for supporting workers and materials during construction, repairs, cleaning, etc.: Our team will scaffold the building in order to provide access for restorative work and maintenance.

  2. to be the support or foundation for: All knowledge is scaffolded by its physical and social contexts.

  1. Education.

    • to aid (learners or their learning) using a method in which support in the application of a new skill is gradually reduced until the individual learner can demonstrate it independently, after which the mastered skill becomes the basis for acquiring the next new skill in a similar way: Showing students how to do something can be an effective first step in scaffolding learning.The program scaffolds middle-school learners through the scientific inquiry process.

    • to design (learning materials, curriculum, etc.) to suit this method of instruction: This paper explains the model used to scaffold lessons for English language learners.

Origin of scaffold

First recorded in 1300–50; Middle English scaffalde, scaffot, skaffaut, from Old French escadafaut; akin to catafalque

Other words from scaffold

  • un·scaf·fold·ed, adjective

Words Nearby scaffold Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use scaffold in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for scaffold


/ (ˈskæfəld, -fəʊld) /

  1. a temporary metal or wooden framework that is used to support workmen and materials during the erection, repair, etc, of a building or other construction

  2. a raised wooden platform on which plays are performed, tobacco, etc, is dried, or (esp formerly) criminals are executed

  1. to provide with a scaffold

  2. to support by means of a scaffold

Origin of scaffold

C14: from Old French eschaffaut, from Vulgar Latin catafalicum (unattested); see catafalque

Derived forms of scaffold

  • scaffolder, noun

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