Definitions

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

  • n. A block or slab on which a pedestal, column, or statue is placed.
  • n. The base block at the intersection of the baseboard and the vertical trim around an opening.
  • n. A continuous course of stones supporting a wall. Also called plinth course.
  • n. A square base, as for a vase.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A block or slab upon which a column, pedestal, or statue is based.
  • n. The bottom course of stones or bricks supporting a wall.
  • n. A base or pedestal beneath a cabinet.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. In classical architecture, a vertically faced member immediately below the circular base of a column; also, the lowest member of a pedestal; hence, in general, the lowest member of a base; a sub-base; a block upon which the moldings of an architrave or trim are stopped at the bottom. See Illust. of column.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In architecture, the flat square table or slab under the molding of the base of a Roman or Renaissance column, of which it constitutes the foundation, and the bottom of the order; also, an abacus; also, a square molding or table at the base of any architectural part or member, or of a pedestal, etc. See phrases below, and cuts under base, column, and capital.
  • n. A gymnastic apparatus, a vaulting-box, consisting of several woodensections placed on top of one another, so as to make possible variations in height.
  • n. An apparatus used in therapeutic gymnastics on which the patient sits or lies.

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

  • n. an architectural support or base (as for a column or statue)

Etymologies

French plinthe, from Latin plinthus, from Greek plinthos, tile, plinth.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Ancient Greek πλίνθος (plinthos, "brick") (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • On the front of the plinth is the single word 'Canada'.

    The Great Remembrance

  • The plinth is a reproduction of Mr. Hussein's thumbprint, and atop is a stylized reproduction, in gold, of his Arabic initials.

    Daimnation!: Saddam Hussein, who struggles so

  • Eventually we reach our actual destination, a field where a group of 12 women are carrying baskets filled with earth and mud from the edge of a field to a destroyed homestead where a family is using the mud to rebuild the foundation - the "plinth" - of their home.

    Nicholas D. Kristof

  • For 100 days, around the clock, the plinth was a small stage on which 2,400 persons, one per hour, expressed themselves.

    Magnificence Democratized

  • The pillar is not placed in the center, but at one end of the plinth, which is the case in almost every lamp of this description yet found.

    Museum of Antiquity A Description of Ancient Life

  • On one surface of the plinth is a spigot and a cup, and underneath a drip-stone, where thirsty dogs can drink.

    Robert Louis Stevenson

  • But those nearer (Ralph, and George, and Rose among them) who could see not only the whole figure, but the plinth and the pedestal upon which it stood, saw that the inscription on the plinth was the same as that which had been reported as upon the first image, the one set up in the Temple at

    The Mark of the Beast

  • The plinth, which is very massive, rises even higher above that of the west front here than it does there, and the buttresses project over 8 feet at the base and are of three stages, and the gables on these have their sides straight, their eaves everywhere continued to the wall, and their corners enriched with heads, but on the second stage only.

    Bell's Cathedrals: The Cathedral Church of Ripon A Short History of the Church and a Description of Its Fabric

  • However, the statue was only completed a month before his death and the plinth, which is made of Craigleith sandstone, was not ready until after his death in February 1685.

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  • "Similarly, the plinth should be a simple and elegant solution - like evolutionary thinking."

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Comments

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  • Plinth sighting!
    It looked like a bathysphere: a ball of riveted metal, two meters in diameter, with a single porthole on one side. It stood on a low plinth, braced by struts. Cables were plugged into it all over its surface. -- The Black Lung Captain by Chris Wooding

    March 31, 2012

  • I feel glad that it's out there and that you feel powerful. :-)

    July 10, 2011

  • Happened to walk past this same park again today. The word was still there. I feel powerful.

    July 8, 2011

  • Milos, that's excellent! If Wordnik were a photo, that would be it. :-)

    Okay, that would be one of them....

    June 28, 2011

  • Whoops. Sorry. Plinth-love, not plith-love.

    June 28, 2011

  • Why didn't I think of that? *wanders off to find some chalk*

    June 17, 2011

  • I always keep a piece of chalk in my backpack in case of situations just like this one. Didn't occur to me to stand on; I'd just got in on the overnight train and in fact spent the next hour asleep on the bench visible.

    June 17, 2011

  • Nice. Did you stand on the plinth for a while?

    June 17, 2011

  • I like it! (I assume you used chalk, Milos.)

    June 17, 2011

  • Did this the other day in Tbilisi.

    June 17, 2011

  • I'd erect a sculpture of a pumpkin, vomiting with dignity.

    June 10, 2011

  • I'm sorry that sionnach's excellent conversation-starter dropped dead in the water "almost 2 years ago".

    I'd make rude gestures in a languid fashion.

    June 10, 2011

  • Surely everything exists below marsupials, ruzuzu.

    plith-love...see, you're doing it wrong. This is no blaffing matter.

    June 10, 2011

  • It's a serious word?

    June 10, 2011

  • After reading all this plith-love, I can no longer take this word seriously.

    June 10, 2011

  • How elegant!

    February 7, 2011

  • Neck Plinth design (look just below the "Marsupial").

    February 6, 2011

  • :)

    January 24, 2011

  • Gotta give credit to a band that uses "plinth" in its lyrics. :-)

    January 19, 2011

  • A monument to build beneath the arbors
    Upon a plinth that towers t'wards the trees
    Let every vessel pitching hard to starboard
    Lay its head on summer's freckled knees.

    (Don't carry it all, by the Decemberists)

    January 19, 2011

  • Plinth!

    June 18, 2010

  • I have just encountered this word as a substitute for “template” (almost) or perhaps foundation—but in the technological sense. For instance, building a complex piece of software on such a lowly plinth.

    August 19, 2009

  • Plinth. Plinth plinthity plinth.

    July 24, 2009

  • plinth plinth plinth plinth... ahhh, mouthfeel...

    July 24, 2009

  • What would you do on the Fourth Plinth?

    July 7, 2009

  • Sayth who?

    July 6, 2009

  • Yeth.

    June 19, 2009

  • Lisp-inducing.

    June 19, 2009

  • "Devonport's controversial 'Spirit of the Sea' statue will be officially launched tomorrow, but the artist who created it says he is unlikely to be there. Aden McLeod formerly of Devonport and now living in North Queensland, says he was invited, but he is too traumatised by his experience to attend. The five-metre nude bronze statue was installed on its plinth at the mouth of the Mersey River yesterday."
    - Statue divides a city, abc.net.au, 28 Feb 2009.

    February 28, 2009

  • Wow, an earworm that isn't a song...eyeworm?

    Plinth!

    November 15, 2007

  • Positively plinthiform! I think we've discovered a monosyllabic earworm.
    Plinth. Plinth, plinth, plinth.

    November 15, 2007

  • It is plinthific, wouldn't you say?

    November 14, 2007

  • This is scary, reesetee. I was just thinking "plinth, I love saying that word". I went to put it on my list of favorites and what do I find? "Plinth. Plinth. Plinth." Indeed!

    November 14, 2007

  • Well, if I'd known it would have that effect.... ;-)

    October 17, 2007

  • Wow. What an exquisite image.

    October 17, 2007

  • Someone told me this was the sexiest word a woman could say, and I subsequently realised she was right.

    When you say plinth, your lips first press together gently, then part; the tongue peeks seductively out from under the teeth, then the ‘th’ sound is softly breathed through the invitingly open lips.

    October 17, 2007

  • Plinth. I just love saying this word. Plinth. Plinth. Plinth.

    October 17, 2007

  • This plinth is shaped like King George IV of the UK.

    October 3, 2007