Definitions

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

  • n. Architecture Plural of atlas2.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Plural form of atlas.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n.pl. Figures or half figures of men, used as columns to support an entablature; -- called also telamones. See caryatides.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In architecture, figures or half figures of men used in place of columns or pilasters, to support an entablature.

Etymologies

From the Ancient Greek Ἄτλαντες (Atlantes), the nominative plural form of Ἄτλας (Atlas); see atlas. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Here was revealed, beyond a splashing fountain guarded by recumbent lions, up a hillside, densely covered with dark confiners, a baroque grotto with exuberantly rusticated arches and athletic atlantes.

    Michael Henry Adams: Some Great New Books!

  • Quales statuae (quod ait [2100] ille) quae sacris in aedibus columnis imponuntur, velut oneri cedentes videntur, ac si insudarent, quum revera sensu sint carentes, et nihil saxeam adjuvent firmitatem: atlantes videri volunt, quum sint statuae lapideae, umbratiles revera homunciones, fungi, forsan et bardi, nihil a saxo differentes.

    Anatomy of Melancholy

  • You can see this in atlantes and dictionaries until the Eighties, but the situation is almost reverse now.

    languagehat.com: RENAMING THE HAN.

  • Again, figures in the form of men supporting mutules or coronae, we term "telamones" -- the reasons why or wherefore they are so called are not found in any story -- but the Greeks name them [Greek: atlantes].

    The Ten Books on Architecture

  • The walls of the narrow cella were interrupted by heavy piers supporting atlantes, or applied statues under the ceiling.

    A Text-Book of the History of Architecture Seventh Edition, revised

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