baluster

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English[edit]

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Different types of baluster

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Etymology[edit]

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 (balaústion), from Semitic (compare Aramaic balatz 'wild pomegranate flower').

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Noun[edit]

baluster (plural balusters)

  1. (architecture)  A short column used in a group to support a rail, as commonly found on the side of a stairway; a banister.
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 3, in The China Governess[1]:
      Sepia Delft tiles surrounded the fireplace, their crudely drawn Biblical scenes in faded cyclamen blending with the pinkish pine, while above them, instead of a mantelshelf, there was an archway high enough to form a balcony with slender balusters and a tapestry-hung wall behind.
    • 2004, Alan Hollinghurst, The Line of Beauty, Bloomsbury, 2005, Chapter 17 (i),
      Nick looked at the floor, and at the rhythm of the black-and-gilt S-shaped balusters.

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