Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun One of the upright, usually rounded or vase-shaped supports of a balustrade.
  • noun An upright support, such as a furniture leg, having a similar shape.
  • noun One of the supporting posts of a handrail.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In architecture and building, a small upright member made in a great variety of forms, but typically strongly swelled outward at some point between the base and the top or capital, and commonly vase- or urn-shaped, used in series to support the rail of a railing or balustrade.
  • noun In architecture, the lateral part of the volute of the Ionic capital. Also bolster.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Arch.) A small column or pilaster, used as a support to the rail of an open parapet, to guard the side of a staircase, or the front of a gallery. See balustrade.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun architecture A short column used in a group to support a rail, as commonly found on the side of a stairway; a banister.

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

  • noun one of a number of closely spaced supports for a railing

Etymologies

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

[French balustre, from Italian balaustro, from balaustra, pomegranate flower (from a resemblance to the post), from Latin balaustium, from Greek balaustion.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

French balustre, from Italian balaustro 'pillar', from balausta 'wild pomegranate flower', so named because of resemblance to the swelling form of the half-open flower, from Ancient Greek βαλαύστιον (balaustion), from Semitic (compare Aramaic balatz 'wild pomegranate flower').

Examples

  • There was also an little piece of home in one of the display cases: An original baluster from the Louis Sullivan designed Carson Pirie Scott building in Chicago.

    A Modern Museum's Turn-Of-The-Century Treasures

  • August 15th, 2007 at 1: 27 am dangerous place, if the baluster is not high enough! mx2 Says:

    Online Flash Tennis

  • England had what was known as a baluster stem and a seal head; the assay mark was in the inner part of the bowl.

    Home Life in Colonial Days

  • A staircase with a massive oak baluster winds up toward the second floor.

    The Other Side of Dark

  • One broken baluster is placed on the pediment like a fractured leg.

    Les Miserables

  • We waited to collect money to rebuild the front porch right; solid cedar columns, tongue & groove panelled ceiling, a hint of our personality in the rail baluster pattern.

    Mitsouko Musings

  • We waited to collect money to rebuild the front porch right; solid cedar columns, tongue & groove panelled ceiling, a hint of our personality in the rail baluster pattern.

    Archive 2008-12-01

  • Again, the baluster survives: the hollow—concealed behind a removable sliver of wood—is very small.

    The Sion Revelation

  • Project involves converting unfinished attic space to a 15-by-15-foot bedroom and bathroom with shower; installing four new windows, shed dormer and closet space under eaves; adding insulation, carpeting, rail and baluster to stairs; extending ventilation system; and finishing walls and ceilings.

    Best Real Estate ROIs Minor Kitchen...

  • Again, the baluster survives: the hollow—concealed behind a removable sliver of wood—is very small.

    The Sion Revelation

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