Definitions

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

  • n. A handrail, especially on a staircase.
  • n. Such a handrail together with its supporting structures.
  • n. One of the vertical supports of a handrail; a baluster.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The handrail on the side of a staircase.
  • n. One of the vertical supports of a handrail; a baluster.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A baluster.
  • n. The balustrade of a staircase. Formerly used in this sense mostly in the plural, now mostly in the singular.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Corrupt forms of baluster.
  • n. A handle-brush used in spinning- and weaving-mills for cleaning the gearing of machinery.

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

  • n. a railing at the side of a staircase or balcony to prevent people from falling

Etymologies

Variant of baluster.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Corruption of baluster. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • “The banister is an especially interesting piece,” Lowell said as they continued the tour.

    Mind Games

  • Dangling from the banister was a cardboard notice, which read:

    Maigret and the Madwoman—Simenon, Georges - 100

  • She won't admit it, though, and laughs and kisses her hand over the banister, which is all the closer we have seen her yet.

    Mary Cary "Frequently Martha"

  • BALUSTER (through the Fr. from the Ital. _balaustro_, so-called from a supposed likeness to the flower of the [Greek: balaustion], or wild pomegranate; the word has been corrupted in English into "banister"), a small moulded shaft, square or circular, in stone or wood and sometimes in metal, supporting the coping of a parapet or the rail of a staircase, an assemblage of them being known as a balustrade.

    Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 3, Part 1, Slice 2 "Baconthorpe" to "Bankruptcy"

  • The banister shook under his grip as he pulled himself up the stairs.

    Raven

  • The couple also restored some of the brownstone's original features, such as the five marble fireplaces, the exposed brick and stone and the banister of the staircase, which has recycled carpeting.

    Healthy Bent In Bed-Stuy

  • Philip Montgomery for The Wall Street Journal The couple also restored some of the brownstone's original features, such as the five marble fireplaces, the exposed brick and stone, and the banister of the staircase, which has recycled carpeting.

    Healthy Living in Bed-Stuy

  • Another childhood experience influenced the meal: Mayonnaise was banned because Fallon once got his head stuck in a banister at his grandparents' house, and they smeared mayo on it to squeeze him out.

    Jimmy Fallon's Top Chef Birthday Bash

  • Her hands slide down the wall as she uses the column of the banister to help her up.

    A Prince of Darkness

  • Another small vine hovered by his elbow, a living banister.

    End of Time

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