[buh-tris] /ˈbʌ trɪs/
any external prop or support built to steady a structure by opposing its outward thrusts, especially a projecting support built into or against the outside of a masonry wall.
any prop or support.
a thing shaped like a buttress, as a tree trunk with a widening base.
a bony or horny protuberance, especially on a horse's hoof.
verb (used with object)
to support by a buttress; prop up.
to give encouragement or support to (a person, plan, etc.).
1350–1400; Middle English butresOld French (arc) boterez thrusting (arch) nominative singular of boteret (accusative), equivalent to boter- abutment (perhaps < Germanic; see butt3) + -et -et
Related forms
buttressless, adjective
buttresslike, adjective
nonbuttressed, adjective
unbuttressed, adjective
6. encourage, hearten, support, inspirit, brace, back up, reinforce, shore up.
Example Sentences for buttress
And the whole panoply of addiction research has led to insights that buttress a profusion of therapies.
They buttress each other and serve to reinforce each other.
It could doubtless do more to buttress the new government, but all this is the work of years.
To buttress his defense, he produced several testimonials-the written equivalent of character witnesses.
Fidelity may be a buttress of marriage, but it is sometimes a burden on film adaptations.
Two further findings buttress the idea that it is the psychological load of decision making which matters.
Nor did it buttress its geopolitical interests with tanks.
As my crew filled sandbags to buttress our excavations, their shovels uncovered an opening in the rock.
But too often here the orchestra chords that buttress the vocal lines were listless.
They buttress their cause by letting no government efforts to reach the poor in those regions.
British Dictionary definitions for buttress
buttress (ˈbʌtrɪs)
1.  See also flying buttress Also called: pier a construction, usually of brick or stone, built to support a wall
2.  any support or prop
3.  something shaped like a buttress, such as a projection from a mountainside
4.  either of the two pointed rear parts of a horse's hoof
5.  to support (a wall) with a buttress
6.  to support or sustain
[C13: from Old French bouterez, short for ars bouterez thrusting arch, from bouter to thrust, butt³]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin and History for buttress
early 14c., from O.Fr. botrez "flying buttress," lit. "buttressed," pl. of boteret "support," from bouter "to thrust against," of Frankish origin (cf. O.N. bauta "to strike, beat"), from P.Gmc. *butan, from PIE base *bhau- "to strike" (see butt (v.)). The verb is from late 14c.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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