American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. The roughly triangular space between the left or right exterior curve of an arch and the rectangular framework surrounding it.
- n. The space between two arches and a horizontal molding or cornice above them.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In architecture, the triangular space comprehended between the outer curve or extrados of an arch, a horizontal line drawn through its apex, and a vertical line through its springing; also, the wall-space between the outer moldings of two arches and a horizontal line or string-course above them, or between these outer moldings and the intrados of another arch rising above and inclosing the two. In medieval architecture the spandrels are often ornamented with tracery, sculptured foliage, and the like. See cut on following page.
- n. architecture The space (often triangular) between the outer curve of an arch (the extrados) and a straight-sided figure that bounds it; the space between two contiguous arches and a straight feature above them
- n. architecture The triangular space under a stair; the material that fills the space
- n. architecture A horizontal member between the windows of each storey of a tall building
- n. An oriental rug having a pattern of arches; the design in the corners of such a rug, especially in a prayer rug
- n. genetics A phenotypic characteristic that evolved as a side effect of a true adaptation
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Arch.) The irregular triangular space between the curve of an arch and the inclosing right angle; or the space between the outer moldings of two contiguous arches and a horizontal line above them, or another arch above and inclosing them.
- n. Cant A narrow mat or passe partout for a picture.
- n. an approximately triangular surface area between two adjacent arches and the horizontal plane above them
- Middle English spaundrell, probably from spandre, space between supporting timbers, from Anglo-Norman spaundre, from spandre, to spread out, from Latin expandere; see expand. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Years ago, Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Lewontin borrowed the term spandrel from architecture to illustrate an important consequence of the way evolution works.”
“This is an example of a byproduct or what Stephen Jay Gould famously called a spandrel -- a trait that has no benefit and can be very costly, but remains in the population by being connected to other traits that do have a benefit.”
“Well, a spandrel is the small brass ornament at the corner that fills in the triangular gap left between the circular face and the square outline of the case.”
“The horizontal beam, known as a spandrel, was designed to hold up floor sections of the deck, according to David Tyndall, of Gateway Development, the owners of the Centergy Building and parking deck.”
“43 A spandrel is an architectural term that designates the “tapering triangular spaces formed by the intersection of two rounded arches at right angles.””
“The fact that we know those stories are fictional may indeed make such exercise a "spandrel," an unnecessary side effect of our brains 'power to find order in facts.”
“Community is important but is, in many cases, a 'spandrel' of sorts.”
“This isn't quite what Gould means by "spandrel", but it's close.”
“This comes close to being the sort of "spandrel" that Ron Pies discusses in his critique of Lehrer's article.”
“David Tyndall, head of Gateway Development, which owns the decks, told WSB-TV Wednesday the floors collapsed because a "spandrel" beam - an exterior beam that extends from column to column and marks the floor level between stories - "popped out.”
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