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

buttressless, adjective
buttresslike, adjective
nonbuttressed, adjective
unbuttressed, adjective

6. encourage, hearten, support, inspirit, brace, back up, reinforce, shore up.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
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
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

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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Example sentences
His popularity has been buttressed by the marketing efforts of high-profile businesses.
One will enroll patients into a group where linear staple lines are buttressed at the stomach.
Large-scale monumental buildings often contained central towers, some of which were buttressed by side wings.
The piers are elaborately built so that the core of each has recessed corners buttressed with additional staggered brickwork.
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