noun, plural penthouses [pent-hou-ziz] .
an apartment or dwelling on the roof of a building, usually set back from the outer walls.
any specially designed apartment on an upper floor, especially the top floor, of a building.
a structure on a roof for housing elevator machinery, a water tank, etc.
Also called pent, pentice [pen-tis] . a shed with a sloping roof, or a sloping roof, projecting from a wall or the side of a building, as to shelter a door.
any rooflike shelter or overhanging part.
Court Tennis. a corridor having a slanted roof and projecting from three walls of the court.

1520–30; alteration (by folk etymology) of Middle English pentis < Old French apentiz, equivalent to apent past participle of apendre to hang against (see appendant) + -iz (French -is) < Vulgar Latin *-ātīcium, noun use of neuter of *-ātīcius, equivalent to Latin -āt(us) -ate1 + -īcius adj. suffix

penthouselike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
penthouse (ˈpɛntˌhaʊs)
1.  a flat or maisonette built onto the top floor or roof of a block of flats
2.  a construction on the roof of a building, esp one used to house machinery
3.  a shed built against a building, esp one that has a sloping roof
4.  real tennis the roofed corridor that runs along three sides of the court
[C14 pentis (later penthouse, by folk etymology), from Old French apentis, from Late Latin appendicium appendage, from Latin appendere to hang from; see appendix]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

pendize, early 14c., from Anglo-Fr. pentiz, aphetic of O.Fr. apentis "attached building, appendage," from M.L. appendicium, from L. appendere "to hang." Modern spelling is from c.1530, by folk etymology influence of M.Fr. pente "slope," and English house (the meaning at that time was "attached building
with a sloping roof or awning"). Originally a simple structure (M.E. homilies describe Jesus' birthplace in the manger as a "penthouse"); meaning "apartment or small house built on the roof of a skyscraper" first recorded 1921, from which time dates its association with luxury.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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