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Two spandrels (sense 1) of an arch.

Alternative forms[edit]


From a diminutive of Anglo-Norman spaundre, of uncertain origin, perhaps from Old French espandre (to expand, extend, spread).


spandrel (plural spandrels)

  1. (architecture) The space (often triangular) between the outer curve of an arch (the extrados) and a straight-sided figure that bounds it; the space between two contiguous arches and a straight feature above them
  2. (architecture) The triangular space under a stair; the material that fills the space
  3. (architecture) A horizontal member between the windows of each storey of a tall building
  4. An oriental rug having a pattern of arches; the design in the corners of such a rug, especially in a prayer rug
  5. (evolutionary theory) A phenotypic characteristic that evolved as a side effect of a true adaptation

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