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[ban-uh-ster] /ˈbæn ə stər/


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 bannisters
Historical Examples
  • This best of stage seamen since bannisters time was born in 1780, and died only recently.

    Haunted London Walter Thornbury
  • Then up she'd be coming, step by step, houlding on to the bannisters, dot and carry one.

    The Manxman Hall Caine
  • I slid down the bannisters, not only to expedite matters but to save my ankle that had begun to remind me of its existence.

  • He leaned over the bannisters and spied the note on the hall table.

    Mary Louise and Josie O'Gorman Emma Speed Sampson
  • She went up the stairs, and when she had disappeared round the bend of the bannisters, John went into the sitting-room.

    The Foolish Lovers St. John G. Ervine
  • His hand gripped the bannisters, his heart leaped to his throat.

    The Devourers Annie Vivanti Chartres
  • As he pulled the young lady upstairs, she caught hold of one of the bannisters with her hand, on which was a rich bracelet.

    Popular Rhymes and Nursery Tales David Goodger (
  • She fell last week over the bannisters of the stairs, and broke her arm.

    Records of Later Life Frances Ann Kemble
  • Hilda leaned upon the bannisters, her arms dropping over from the elbows.

    Hilda Sarah Jeanette Duncan
  • The bannisters are so broad and slippery—the very things for sliding on.

British Dictionary definitions for bannisters


plural noun
a variant spelling of banisters


Sir Roger (Gilbert). born 1929, British athlete and doctor: first man to run a mile in under four minutes (1954)
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 bannisters



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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