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1811, from Latin candelabrum, which meant "candlestick," from candela (see candle). Old English had candeltreow "candle-tree" in same sense. The word was borrowed earlier (late 14c.) from Old French as chaundelabre with the Latin sense. Candelabra is the Latin plural.
in architecture, a decorative motif derived from the pedestal or shaft used to support a lamp or candle. The Romans, developing Hellenistic precedents, made candelabra of great decorative richness. Two Roman types are found. The simpler consists of a slender shaft, often fluted, supported on a spreading base of animals' feet and acanthus scrolls and carrying a flat shelf with vaselike moldings. The multitude of such candelabra found in Pompeii proves them to have been a common form of household decoration. The more monumental type, made of marble or bronze and used in public buildings, had for the base a pedestal resembling a little altar, which carried a heavy shaft frequently decorated with row on row of acanthus leaves. The lavishness of such examples was imitated in works by Renaissance artists.