Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search


English Wikipedia has an article on:
All Saints Church in Lund, Sweden, covered in scaffolding (sense 1) in June 2009
A scaffold (sense 1) installed around the dome of the United States Capitol in July 2016 for restoration work
The execution of Stanislaus Lacroix by hanging in Hull, Quebec, Canada, on 21 March 1902. Lacroix (wearing a hood), a priest, and the officials carrying out the execution are standing on a scaffold (sense 2).


From Middle English scaffold, scaffalde, from Anglo-Norman schaffaut, eschaffaut, eschafal, eschaiphal, escadafaut (platform to see a tournament) (Modern French échafaud), from Old French es- (indicating movement away or separation) (from Latin ex- (out, away)) + chafaud, chafaut, chafault, caafau, caafaus, cadefaut (scaffold for executing a criminal), from Vulgar Latin *catafalcum (viewing stage), possibly from Ancient Greek κατα- (kata-, back; against) + Latin -falicum (from fala, phala (wooden gallery or tower; siege tower)).



scaffold (plural scaffolds)

  1. A structure made of scaffolding for workers to stand on while working on a building.
    • 1999, William P[erkins] Spence, “Ladders, Scaffolding & Runways”, in Carpentry & Building Construction: A Do-it-yourself Guide, New York, N.Y.: Sterling Publishing Company, Inc., →ISBN, page 26:
      1. A scaffold must be able to hold four times the load it is expected to carry. / 2. The footing for a scaffold must be level and solid and must not have motion when weight is applied. The scaffold must be level and plumb.
    • 2015, Phil Hughes; Ed Ferrett, “Workplace Hazards and Risk Control”, in International Health and Safety at Work: For the NEBOSH International General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety, 3rd edition, Abingdon, Oxon.; New York, N.Y.: Routledge, →ISBN, page 205:
      It is quicker and easier to use a ladder as a means of access, but it is not always the safest. Jobs, such as painting, gutter repair, demolition work or window replacement, are often easier done using a scaffold. If the work can be completed comfortably using ladders, a scaffold need not be considered. Scaffolds must be capable of supporting building workers, equipment, materials, tools and any accumulated waste.
    • 2023 March 22, Paul Clifton, “Network News: Island Line to reopen to Ryde Pier in June... possibly”, in RAIL, number 979, page 24:
      On the day of RAIL 's site visit, in heavy weather, the scaffolding and decking that engineers stand on were submerged deep under choppy water, with work suspended. "We have to work around the tides," explained Project Director Alan Venables. "The wind pushes the tide up and the waves get larger. That causes some problems with the scaffold."
  2. An elevated platform on which a criminal is executed.
    • 1788 June, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, “Mr. Sheridan’s Speech, on Summing Up the Evidence on the Second, or Begum Charge against Warren Hastings, Esq., Delivered before the High Court of Parliament, June 1788”, in Select Speeches, Forensick and Parliamentary, with Prefatory Remarks by N[athaniel] Chapman, M.D., volume I, [Philadelphia, Pa.]: Published by Hopkins and Earle, no. 170, Market Street, published 1808, →OCLC, page 474:
      The Begums' ministers, on the contrary, to extort from them the disclosure of the place which concealed the treasures, were, [] after being fettered and imprisoned, led out on to a scaffold, and this array of terrours proving unavailing, the meek tempered Middleton, as a dernier resort, menaced them with a confinement in the fortress of Chunargar. Thus, my lords, was a British garrison made the climax of cruelties!
    • 1834, L[etitia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], chapter XI, in Francesca Carrara. [], volume III, London: Richard Bentley, [], (successor to Henry Colburn), →OCLC, page 85:
      Again and again she recurred to the scene of his execution, whose horror was heightened by the familiar circumstances with which it was attended. The customary scaffold has its own awe—justice and obedience and usage surround the place; but to die a violent death, and by the hand of man, amid life's daily scenes, all associations so domestic and so ordinary, aggravates the ghastly spectacle, and makes the doom seem at once cruel and undeserved.
  3. An elevated platform on which dead bodies are ritually disposed of, as by some Native American tribes.
  4. (metalworking) An accumulation of adherent, partly fused material forming a shelf or dome-shaped obstruction above the tuyeres in a blast furnace.
  5. (sciences) A structure that provides support for some other material.
    • 2011 September 29, Reiko Iwazawa; Kentaro Nakamura, Scaffold for Vascular Endothelial Cell Migration[1], US Patent US 20130084638 A1:
      [T]he inventors of the present invention have found that the above-described recombinant gelatin contained in the scaffold for vascular endothelial cell migration according to the present invention markedly promotes migration of vascular endothelial cells. Therefore, use of the scaffold for vascular endothelial cell migration according to the present invention makes it possible to ensure that vascular endothelial cells migrate to a predetermined site to newly form blood vessels.
    • 2016, Binhai Zhu, “Genomic Scaffold Filling: A Progress Report”, in Daming Zhu and Sergey Bereg, editors, Frontiers in Algorithmics: 10th International Workshop, FAW 2016, Qingdao, China, June 30 – July 2, 2016, Proceedings (Lecture Notes in Computer Science; 9711), [Cham, Switzerland]: Springer International Publishing, →DOI, →ISBN, page 8:
      [] Munoz et al. first proposed the following scaffold filling problem (on multichromosomal genomes with no gene repetition) as follows []. Given a complete (permutation) genome R and an incomplete scaffold S, fill the missing genes in R – S into S to have S′ such that the genomic distance [] between R and S′ is minimized. It was shown that this problem can be solved in polynomial time.

Derived terms[edit]



scaffold (third-person singular simple present scaffolds, present participle scaffolding, simple past and past participle scaffolded)

  1. (transitive) To set up a scaffolding; to surround a building with scaffolding.
  2. (transitive) To sustain; to provide support for.
  3. (transitive) To dispose of the bodies of the dead on a scaffold or raised platform, as by some Native American tribes.


Further reading[edit]