from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A slight convexity or swelling, as in the shaft of a column, intended to compensate for the illusion of concavity resulting from straight sides.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A slight convex curvature introduced into the shaft of a column for aesthetic reasons, or to compensate for the illusion of concavity.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A slight convex swelling of the shaft of a column.
  • n. Same as Entasia.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In architecture, the swelling or outward curve of tho profile of tho shaft of a column.
  • n. In pathology, constrictive or tonic spasm, as cramp, lockjaw, etc. See tetanus. Also entasia.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a slight convexity in the shaft of a column; compensates for the illusion of concavity that viewers experience when the sides are perfectly straight


Latin, from Greek, tension, from enteinein, to stretch tight : en-, intensive pref.; see en-2 + teinein, to stretch.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Latin, from Ancient Greek έντασις (entasis, "tension, straining"), from εντείνω (enteino, "to stretch or strain tight"). (Wiktionary)


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  • "Fātima steps over those motionless bodies caught up in what they're protesting; following in Fātima's footsteps, I enter the high-ceilinged room, airy and light, slender columns, exaggerated by entasis, shaft topped by a capital, a typically Tunisoise interpretation of composite order, the capital itself topped by a tall impost."
    Talismano by Abdelwahab Meddeb, translated by Jane Kuntz, p 173 of the Dalkey Archive Press paperback

    October 1, 2011

  • Bugger. I prefer my illusions undisturbed.

    January 5, 2008