Denotation vs. Connotation


or bannister

[ban-uh-ster] /ˈbæn ə stər/
a baluster.
Sometimes, banisters. the balustrade of a staircase.
Origin of banister
1660-70; apparently by dissimilation from earlier barrister, alteration of baluster, perhaps by association with bar1
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 banisters
Historical Examples
  • He was coming downstairs with quaking legs; his face was ashen white, and he leaned heavily on the banisters.

  • He leaped up and ran to the top of the stairs and leant over the banisters.

    The Foolish Lovers St. John G. Ervine
  • Lindsay closed the door behind him without replying, and half-way down the stairs her voice appealed to him over the banisters.

    The Path of a Star Mrs. Everard Cotes (AKA Sara Jeannette Duncan)
  • It upset her more than anything, and again and again she struck the banisters with vexation.

  • Maxfield stopped, hesitatingly, with his hand on the banisters at the top of the landing.

    A Charming Fellow, Volume II (of 3) Frances Eleanor Trollope
  • Now lave the way if you plase, and let me got a howld of the banisters.

    Jack Hinton Charles James Lever
  • I could not wait till he had reached me, but called out over the banisters, 'Well?

    Alas! Rhoda Broughton
  • To carry on a conversation over the banisters is also equally bad.

    The Etiquette of To-day Edith B. Ordway
  • Myra commenced mounting the stairs, but turned on the fifth step and hung over the banisters to smile at him.

    The Mistress of Shenstone Florence L. Barclay
  • I'd like to take him down by way of the banisters,—just give him one shove, and let him fly.

    We Ten Lyda Farrington Kraus
British Dictionary definitions for banisters


plural noun
the railing and supporting balusters on a staircase; balustrade
Word Origin
C17: altered from baluster
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 banisters



1660s, unexplained corruption of baluster. As late as 1830 condemned as "vulgar," it is now accepted. Surname Bannister is from Old French banastre "basket," hence, "basket-maker."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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