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[bal-uh-ster] /ˈbæl ə stər/
Architecture. any of a number of closely spaced supports for a railing.
balusters, a balustrade.
any of various symmetrical supports, as furniture legs or spindles, tending to swell toward the bottom or top.
Origin of baluster
1595-1605; < French, Middle French balustre < Italian balaustro pillar shaped like the calyx of the pomegranate flower, ultimately < Latin balaustium < Greek balaústion pomegranate flower
Related forms
balustered, adjective
Can be confused
baluster, balustrade, banister. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for baluster
  • They dictate everything from tread width to baluster height.
  • The base has turned baluster legs and curved stretchers.
  • The staircase balustrade has a molded handrail and especially fine turned baluster.
  • Surviving baluster of terrace that provides a prototype to replace damaged balusters.
  • In this case, the older concrete baluster rail was replaced due to the failure of the existing rail.
  • The roof of each of the sun porches is surrounded by a wooden baluster and rail.
  • On new tread, measure old baluster position and mark inside new miter line.
  • The tall, slender shape of this baluster vase is quite restrained.
  • Stretching between the posts on both floors are turned baluster railings.
  • baluster-One of a series of small pillars that is attached to and runs between the stairs and the handrails.
British Dictionary definitions for baluster


any of a set of posts supporting a rail or coping
(of a shape) swelling at the base and rising in a concave curve to a narrow stem or neck: a baluster goblet stem
Word Origin
C17: from French balustre, from Italian balaustro pillar resembling a pomegranate flower, ultimately from Greek balaustion
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 baluster

"support for a railing," c.1600, from French balustre, from Italian balaustro "pillar," from balausta "flower of the wild pomegranate," from Greek balaustion (perhaps of Semitic origin, cf. Aramaic balatz "flower of the wild pomegranate"). Staircase uprights had lyre-like double curves, like the calyx tube of the pomegranate flower.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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