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

  • n. A spiral scroll-like ornament such as that used on an Ionic capital.
  • n. A spiral formation, such as one of the whorls of a gastropod shell.
  • n. Any of various marine gastropod mollusks of the family Volutidae, having a spiral, often colorfully marked shell.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The spiral curve on an Ionic capital.
  • n. The spirls or whorls on a gastropod's shell.
  • n. Any marine gastropod of the (super)family Volutidae.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A spiral scroll which forms the chief feature of the Ionic capital, and which, on a much smaller scale, is a feature in the Corinthian and Composite capitals. See Illust. of Capital, also Helix, and Stale.
  • n. A spiral turn, as in certain shells.
  • n. Any voluta.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In architecture, a spiral scroll forming an essential part of the Ionic, Corinthian, and Composite capitals, of which it is a characteristic ornament.
  • n. In conchology: A member of the Volutidæ.
  • In botany, rolled up in any direction.

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

  • n. ornament consisting of a curve on a plane that winds around a center with an increasing distance from the center
  • adj. in the shape of a coil
  • n. a structure consisting of something wound in a continuous series of loops


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

French, from Italian voluta, from Latin volūta, from feminine past participle of volvere, to turn, roll.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French and Italian, from Latin volūta, from the feminine of volūtus, perfect passive participle of volvō.


  • Often the cavity was the home of a creature Teal called a volute, but this one was dry and deserted.

    Mid Flinx

  • The water first enters the volute, which is an annular channel surrounding the runner, and then flows between the fixed guide vanes, which give the water the optimum direction of flow.


  • Most of the volute is the correct shape but the add on section i am having difficulties with.

    All Discussion Groups: Message List - root

  • To the left (the statues on the right we have already seen on the previous picture to the left) on the baldachin St. Vitus (look sharply for his rooster) and on the volute St. Achatius (with Cross and crown of thorns).

    Catholic Bamberg: Vierzehnheiligen

  • To the right (here we have already seen the statues on the left on the first picture of the altar to the right) on the baldachin St. Pantaleon (look with his hands nailed to his head) and on the volute St. Christopher.

    Catholic Bamberg: Vierzehnheiligen

  • Along with the Ionic capital's circling volute and the repeating Greek key pattern, strigilation is one of the three most popular patterns of classical art.

    Forged in the Classical Tradition

  • Surely it takes more time to draw an Ionic volute in a Greek-style temple than to sketch one of Frank Gehry's a postmodern punched-out windows.

    James Elkins: Are Artists Bored by Their Work?

  • Many of the works here tell a layered story: A volute-krater -- a vessel used to mix water and wine -- is illustrated with two ceremonies: a formal one with a woman preparing to make an offering to the gods; the other, a frolic of maenads and satyrs.

    Worshipping Women: Onassis Center

  • (That's the shell, commonly called Rossini's volute, at right.)

    Appellation spring

  • Tranne che ci sono volute tre settimana, invece che un colpo al cuore per completare questo progetto.

    No Fat Clips!!! : The Pencil Could Possibly Be Mightier


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  • "Many of the volutes being well known, they take more distinctive names. Such is the West Indian music-shell, Voluta musica, so called because the markings resemble written music."


    May 17, 2012

  • Oh yes, human life is very tolerable on the top of an omnibus in Holborn, when the policeman holds up his arm and the sun beats on your back, and if there is such a thing as a shell secreted by man to fit man himself here we find it, on the banks of the Thames, where the great streets join and St Paul's Cathedral, like the volute on the top of the snail shell, finishes it off.

    --Virginia Woolf, 1922, Jacob's Room

    July 23, 2010

  • On a bed, some way off, lay a pregnant woman, smoking, looking up at the smoke mingling its volutes with the shadows on the ceiling, one knee raised, one hand dreamily scratching her brown groin.

    - Nabokov, Ada, or Ardor

    June 3, 2008

  • I suspect the musical instrument connotation came from the scroll typical of the pegheads of violins and similar instruments. Lots of shells resemble that scroll as well.

    November 16, 2007

  • Also a kind of seashell.

    November 16, 2007

  • On many stringed musical instruments, a thickening of the joint between the headstock and the neck for the purpose of strengthening of the joint.

    November 15, 2007