[ skahy-skrey-per ]
/ ˈskaɪˌskreɪ pər /


a relatively tall building of many stories, especially one for office or commercial use.
Architecture. a building of exceptional height completely supported by a framework, as of girders, from which the walls are suspended, as opposed to a building supported by load-bearing walls.

Nearby words

  1. skyphos,
  2. skyrocket,
  3. skyros,
  4. skysail,
  5. skyscape,
  6. skyscraping,
  7. skysurf,
  8. skysurfing,
  9. skyte,
  10. skytrooper

Origin of skyscraper

First recorded in 1785–95; sky + scraper Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for skyscraper


/ (ˈskaɪˌskreɪpə) /


a very tall multistorey building
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 skyscraper



very tall urban building, 1888, in a Chicago context, from sky (n.) + agent noun of scrape (v.). Used earlier for "ornament atop a building" (1883), "very tall man" (1857), "high-flying bird" (1840), "light sail at the top of a mast" (1794), and the name of a racehorse (1789). Cf. cognate French gratte-ciel, from gratter "to scrape" + ciel "sky;" German Wolkenkratzer, from Wolke "cloud" + Kratzer "scraper."

cloud-cleaver, an imaginary sail jokingly assumed to be carried by Yankee ships. [W. Clark Russell, "Sailors' Word Book," 1883]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper