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[ped-uh-muh nt] /ˈpɛd ə mənt/
(in classical architecture) a low gable, typically triangular with a horizontal cornice and raking cornices, surmounting a colonnade, an end wall, or a major division of a façade.
any imitation of this, often fancifully treated, used to crown an opening, a monument, etc., or to form part of a decorative scheme.
Geology. a gently sloping rock surface at the foot of a steep slope, as of a mountain, usually thinly covered with alluvium.
1655-65; earlier pedament, pedement, alteration, by association with Latin pēs (stem ped-) foot, of earlier peremint, perhaps an unlearned alteration of pyramid; (def 3) by construal as pedi- + -ment
Related forms
[ped-uh-men-tl] /ˌpɛd əˈmɛn tl/ (Show IPA),
[ped-uh-men-tid, -muh n-] /ˈpɛd əˌmɛn tɪd, -mən-/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for pediments
  • Made of dark wood, with ornate pediments, they stand out against white walls.
  • Also within this splayed band are two pediments, one over the main or right stairway and one over the bay window.
  • Much of the bedrock has been eroded into low-relief pediments.
  • The courthouse is built of stone and features metal cornices and pediments at the roof eaves.
  • Additional sculptures are in the pediments and medallions.
  • Highlighting the ends of the house are central pavilions, which have triangular pediments with round center windows.
  • Highlighting the ends of the house are central pavilions, which have triangular pediments and round center windows.
  • Only on the second story are the pavilion windows ornamented with pediments.
  • The cornices of the hipped tin-covered roof, pediments, and shed roofs of side porches are adorned with modillions.
  • Here the first two doorframes have broken pediments while those to the west have full pediments.
British Dictionary definitions for pediments


a low-pitched gable, esp one that is triangular, as used in classical architecture
a gently sloping rock surface, formed through denudation under arid conditions
Derived Forms
pedimental, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from obsolete periment, perhaps workman's corruption of pyramid
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for pediments



triangular part of the facade of a Greek-style building, 1660s, alteration of periment, peremint (1590s), of unknown origin, "said to be a workmen's term" [OED]; probably a dialectal garbling of pyramid, the connection perhaps being the triangular shape. Sometimes associated with ped- "foot." Other possibilities include Latin pedamentum "vine-stalk, prop," and Italian pedamento, which at the time this word entered English meant "foundation, basework, footing." Meaning "base, foundation" is from 1726, by inflience of Latin pedem "foot."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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pediments in Science
A broad, gently sloping rock surface at the base of a steeper slope such as a mountain, often covered with alluvium. Pediments are formed through the exposure of bedrock by erosional processes, such as the flow of water. Pediments are usually found in arid regions where there is little vegetation to hold the overlying soil.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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