Definitions

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

  • n. A roof spout in the form of a grotesque or fantastic creature projecting from a gutter to carry rainwater clear of the wall.
  • n. A grotesque ornamental figure or projection.
  • n. A person of bizarre or grotesque appearance.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A carved grotesque figure on a spout which conveys water away from the gutters.
  • n. Any decorative carved grotesque figure on a building.
  • n. A fictional winged creature.
  • n. An ugly woman.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A spout projecting from the roof gutter of a building, often carved grotesquely.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A spout projecting from the gutter of a building, or connected with it by an opening, for the purpose of carrying off the water clear from the wall.

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

  • n. an ornament consisting of a grotesquely carved figure of a person or animal
  • n. a spout that terminates in a grotesquely carved figure of a person or animal

Etymologies

Middle English gargoile, from Old French gargole, gargouille, throat, waterspout.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • She had learned that the word gargoyle, from the French, was related to gargouille, which meant “gullet.”

    The Poet Prince

  • In 1920s New York City, Professor Ernest Baxter, an expert in all things arcane; Mindy Markus, a scrappy flapper; and Roscoe, a gargoyle from the Bronx, are The Night Owls.

    DC Comics for February 2010 | Major Spoilers - Comic Book Reviews and News

  • I'm not entirely sure this is a gargoyle from the French: to gargle as, to be one, it has to have a water spout in its mouth.

    Roses are Blooming in Picardie

  • The origin of the word gargoyle and its use by the Church can be traced back to a 7th century dragon known in France as gargouille or Goji.

    CreationWiki - Recent changes [en]

  • Also, XUP informs me that the gargoyle is a candle holder as well; I always wondered what that hole was for.

    Careful what you wish for « XUP

  • The gargoyle was a born storyteller, and he'd rarely had as appreciative an audience as Hosea.

    Spirits White As Lightning

  • Behind the gargoyle was a door, presumably leading into the kitchen.

    Myth Conceptions

  • With a few strokes of my mental paintbrush, I altered Gus's features until the gargoyle was the mirror image of myself.

    Myth Conceptions

  • One interesting object in the show connecting Egyptian magic to Judeo-Christian tradition is a lion-headed "gargoyle" that most likely adorned a temple dating to the Late (525-332 B.C.) or Ptolemaic (332-30 B.C.) periods.

    Spellbound in Brooklyn

  • At first I tried calling him by a different name--I was going to call him Grendel because he looks like a strange little creature and is kind of gargoyle-esque.

    A Conversation with Jedediah Berry

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