Definitions

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

  • n. Architecture A supporting column sculptured in the form of a draped female figure.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A sculpted female figure serving as an architectural element, used as a support for entablature.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A draped female figure supporting an entablature, in the place of a column or pilaster.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. pl. caryatids, caryatides (-idz, -i-dēz). In architecture, a figure of a woman dressed in long robes, serving as a column to support an entablature or to fill any other office of a column.
  • Pertaining to or of the form of a caryatid; caryatic.

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

  • n. a supporting column carved in the shape of a person

Etymologies

From Latin Caryātides, caryatids, from Greek Karuātides, priestesses of Artemis at Caryae, caryatids, from Karuai, Caryae, a village of Laconia in southern Greece with a famous temple to Artemis.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
This definition is lacking an etymology or has an incomplete etymology. You can help Wiktionary by giving it a proper etymology. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Sometimes it may be called a caryatid, which is, as I understand it, a cruel device of architecture, representing a man or a woman, obliged to hold up upon his or her head or shoulders a structure which they did not build, and which could stand just as well without as with them.

    The Complete Project Gutenberg Writings of Charles Dudley Warner

  • Schlossberg, where he performed the function of a kind of caryatid, and looked, in the black of his skin and the white of his flowing costume, like a colossal figure carved in ebony and ivory.

    Complete March Family Trilogy

  • A day or two after Mrs. March had met Mrs. Adding, she went with her husband to revere a certain magnificent blackamoor whom he had discovered at the entrance of one of the aristocratic hotels on the Schlossberg, where he performed the function of a kind of caryatid, and looked, in the black of his skin and the white of his flowing costume, like a colossal figure carved in ebony and ivory.

    Their Silver Wedding Journey — Volume 2

  • Eventually the statuesque and barely made-up Helena Pikon, often resembling a caryatid in her straight-and-narrow stance, takes on the persona of a sorrowing Penelope from the "Odyssey" as she makes her mark as something of a loner in this community, often trailing tristesse in her wake.

    Tides of Memory

  • The porch on the left is supported by caryatid figures.

    Archive 2010-04-01

  • No marble caryatid was as sleek and lovely as her PowerBook.

    The Gift of the Magi: The Sequel

  • Nor am I supporting any of the architecture (which, I also learn from Wikipedia, would then properly make me a telemon or atlas, the male version of a caryatid).

    I'm a caryatid!

  • A caryatid, Wikipedia informs me, is "a sculpted female figure serving as an architectural support taking the place of a column or a pillar supporting an entablature on her head".

    I'm a caryatid!

  • He had the air of a caryatid on a vacation; he carried nothing but his revery, however.

    Les Miserables

  • Jean Valjean, who was present, supported the caryatid with his shoulder, and gave the workmen time to arrive.

    Les Miserables

Comments

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  • Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
    the 'sala delle cariatidi' in milan is a very atmospheric, redolent XVIII century hall of mirrors in the royal palace, you can see some photos of it here (taken by elisheba:-)): http://tinyurl.com/5nh58n

    September 17, 2008

  • in italian, a cariatide caryatid is also a pejorative noun for an old, backward-looking person (e.g. una vecchia cariatide del regime - a diehard caryatid of the regime), or a mature/old woman.

    September 17, 2008

  • the male counterpart of a caryatid is called telamon, and coincides with the mythological figure of the titan, Atlas

    September 17, 2008

  • NOUN: Inflected forms: pl. car·y·at·ids or car·y·at·i·des (--dz)
    Architecture A supporting column sculptured in the form of a draped female figure.
    ETYMOLOGY: From Latin Carytides, caryatids, from Greek Karutides, priestesses of Artemis at Caryae, caryatids, from Karuai, Caryae, a village of Laconia in southern Greece with a famous temple to Artemis.
    --------------------------------------
    I learned it from Stranger in a Strange Land.

    Ahh, good times.

    *goes to add grok to her words*

    May 7, 2007

  • learned this from D&D: the monster called a caryatid column

    March 26, 2007