American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. pl. caryatids, caryatides (-idz, -i-dēz). In architecture, a figure of a woman dressed in long robes, serving as a column to support an entablature or to fill any other office of a column. Vitruvius relates that the city of Caryæ sided with the Persians after the battle of Thermopylæ, and that it was on this account sacked by the other Greeks, who took the women captive, and to perpetuate this event erected trophies in which figures of women dressed in the Caryatic manner were used to support entablatures. This story is probably imaginary, but no doubt the name and perhaps the idea of the caryatids were derived from Caryæ.
- Pertaining to or of the form of caryatid; caryatic.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Arch.) A draped female figure supporting an entablature, in the place of a column or pilaster.
- n. a supporting column carved in the shape of a person
- This definition is lacking an etymology or has an incomplete etymology. You can help Wiktionary by giving it a proper etymology. (Wiktionary)
- From Latin Caryātides, caryatids, from Greek Karuātides, priestesses of Artemis at Caryae, caryatids, from Karuai, Caryae, a village of Laconia in southern Greece with a famous temple to Artemis. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Sometimes it may be called a caryatid, which is, as I understand it, a cruel device of architecture, representing a man or a woman, obliged to hold up upon his or her head or shoulders a structure which they did not build, and which could stand just as well without as with them.”
“Schlossberg, where he performed the function of a kind of caryatid, and looked, in the black of his skin and the white of his flowing costume, like a colossal figure carved in ebony and ivory.”
“A day or two after Mrs. March had met Mrs. Adding, she went with her husband to revere a certain magnificent blackamoor whom he had discovered at the entrance of one of the aristocratic hotels on the Schlossberg, where he performed the function of a kind of caryatid, and looked, in the black of his skin and the white of his flowing costume, like a colossal figure carved in ebony and ivory.”
“Eventually the statuesque and barely made-up Helena Pikon, often resembling a caryatid in her straight-and-narrow stance, takes on the persona of a sorrowing Penelope from the "Odyssey" as she makes her mark as something of a loner in this community, often trailing tristesse in her wake.”
“The porch on the left is supported by caryatid figures.”
“No marble caryatid was as sleek and lovely as her PowerBook.”
“Nor am I supporting any of the architecture (which, I also learn from Wikipedia, would then properly make me a telemon or atlas, the male version of a caryatid).”
“A caryatid, Wikipedia informs me, is "a sculpted female figure serving as an architectural support taking the place of a column or a pillar supporting an entablature on her head".”
“He had the air of a caryatid on a vacation; he carried nothing but his revery, however.”
“Jean Valjean, who was present, supported the caryatid with his shoulder, and gave the workmen time to arrive.”
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