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Registered first in the 17th Century: 1660s, probably from cant (2) + lever, but earliest form (c.1610) was cantlapper. First element also may be Sp. can - "dog", an architect's term for an end of timber jutting out of a wall, on which beams rested.


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cantilever (plural cantilevers)

  1. (architecture) A beam anchored at one end and projecting into space, such as a long bracket projecting from a wall to support a balcony.

Derived terms[edit]



cantilever (third-person singular simple present cantilevers, present participle cantilevering, simple past and past participle cantilevered)

  1. To project in the manner of a cantilever, or to project (something) by means of a cantilever
    • 2007 October 28, Nicolai Ouroussoff, “Where Gods Yearn for Long-Lost Treasures”, New York Times:
      Just above, the museums top floor seems to shift slightly, its corners cantilevering over the edge of the story below as if it is sliding off the top of the building.