Definitions

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

  • n. A series of columns surrounding a building or enclosing a court.
  • n. A court enclosed by columns.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. colonnade surrounding a courtyard, temple, etc.
  • n. A courtyard; the space surrounded by a colonnade.
  • n. A porch surrounded by columns.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A range of columns with their entablature, etc.; specifically, a complete system of columns, whether on all sides of a court, or surrounding a building, such as the cella of a temple. Used in the former sense, it gives name to the larger and inner court of a Roman dwelling, the peristyle. See colonnade.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In architecture, a range or ranges of columns surrounding any part, as the cella of a Greek temple, or any place, as a court or cloister, or the atrium of a classical house. See cuts under Greek and opisthodomos.

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

  • n. a colonnade surrounding a building or enclosing a court

Etymologies

French péristyle, from Latin peristȳlum, from Greek peristūlon, from neuter of peristūlos, surrounded by columns : peri-, peri- + stūlos, pillar.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French péristyle, from Classical Latin peristȳlum, peristȳlium, from Ancient Greek περιστύλιον (peristūlion), περίστυλον, noun use of the neuter form of περίστυλος ("surrounded by columns"), from περί (peri) + στῦλος (stūlos, "pillar"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • It happens on a day you can remember: up a wide, hummocky gully in Idaho, with rockhounds staring through hand lenses beneath a sky streaming with peristyles of sunlight, then ragged with dark clouds spitting real snow, the aspen leaves flickering lightdark, lightdark, lightdark, hyper-real. by Christopher Cokinos at http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/268/

    May 13, 2007