[ skaf-uhl-ding, -ohl- ]
See synonyms for scaffolding on
    • a system of temporary structures having platforms to support workers and materials during the construction, repair, or decoration of a building: The scaffolding on the cathedral is finally coming down, and the workers can move on.

    • materials for building such structures: We sell aluminum scaffolding to clients all over the country.

    • the act or process of building such structures: During the scaffolding of the building complex, a specially designed lift carried all the pieces to their places.

  1. Education.

    • a method of instruction in which the learner is provided with gradually reduced support in the application of a new skill until they can demonstrate it independently: the mastered skill then provides the basis for acquiring the next new skill in a similar way: Through careful scaffolding, my students learned to persevere and use a range of strategies to solve math problems.

    • the preparation or design of learning materials for use with this method: This grading approach requires the careful and strategic scaffolding of lesson plans and assignments.

  1. anything that forms a support or basis for something else: The general framework of subtasks provides a scaffolding for the more complex computational tasks.

  1. relating to or involving raised platforms or their construction: A variety of different scaffolding materials are available for your building project.The fair is aimed at reps from companies that regularly hire scaffolding contractors.

  2. Education. relating to, involving, or intended for a method of teaching skills by giving the learner gradually reduced support in applying a new skill until they can demonstrate it independently, after which it becomes the basis for learning the next skill: Some scaffolding exercises were given to students to strengthen their understanding.

Origin of scaffolding

First recorded in 1300–50; Middle English skaf(f)aldyng; equivalent to scaffold + -ing1

Words Nearby scaffolding Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use scaffolding in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for scaffolding


/ (ˈskæfəldɪŋ) /

  1. a scaffold or system of scaffolds

  2. the building materials used to make scaffolds

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