Definitions

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

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. 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 The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. 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.
  • n. In architecture, the lateral part of the volute of the Ionic capital. Also bolster.

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

  • n. one of a number of closely spaced supports for a railing

Etymologies

French balustre, from Italian balaustro, from balaustra, pomegranate flower (from a resemblance to the post), from Latin balaustium, from Greek balaustion.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
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'). (Wiktionary)

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

  • 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

  • She had remained upstairs, holding her child by the hand, and leaning over the baluster; her mind in great perplexity and her eyes and ears on the alert.

    Monsieur Lecoq

  • Up the lawns, through the garden doors, skidding on the polished wood, into the hall where he paused, panting, his hand upon the swirling knob of the baluster.

    At Swim, Two Boys

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