or span·dril

[span-druh l]


Architecture. an area between the extradoses of two adjoining arches, or between the extrados of an arch and a perpendicular through the extrados at the springing line.
(in a steel-framed building) a panellike area between the head of a window on one level and the sill of a window immediately above.
Philately. the decoration occupying the space at the corner of a stamp between the border and an oval or circular central design.

Origin of spandrel

1470–80; earlier spaundrell, probably < Anglo-French spaundre, itself perhaps cognate with Old French espandre to expand Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for spandrel

Historical Examples of spandrel

  • The upper one is a spandrel piece from the traceried arcading of the stalls.


    George Jack

  • For the arches and spandrel walls the gravel was passed over a 2-in.

    Concrete Construction

    Halbert P. Gillette

  • German clocks had this device of the cherub's head, but not in the spandrel.

    Chats on Old Clocks

    Arthur Hayden

  • Diversity prevails in the colours of field, spandrel, panel, and borders.

    Oriental Rugs

    Walter A. Hawley

  • "I'm afraid I don't know what a spandrel is," Christopher announced with appealing frankness.

British Dictionary definitions for spandrel



noun architect

an approximately triangular surface bounded by the outer curve of an arch and the adjacent wall
the surface area between two adjacent arches and the horizontal cornice above them

Word Origin for spandrel

C15 spaundrell, from Anglo-French spaundre spandrel, from Old French spandre to spread, expand
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 spandrel

late 15c., "triangular space between the outer curves of an arch," apparently a diminutive of Anglo-French spaundre (late 14c.), perhaps a shortening of espandre "to expand, extend," from Latin expandre (see expand).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper