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[kyoo-puh-luh] /ˈkyu pə lə/
  1. a light structure on a dome or roof, serving as a belfry, lantern, or belvedere.
  2. a dome, especially one covering a circular or polygonal area.
any of various domelike structures.
Metallurgy. a vertical furnace for melting iron to be cast.
Origin of cupola
1540-50; < Italian < Latin cūpula, equivalent to cūp(a) tub + -ula -ule. Cf. cup
Can be confused
copula, cupola. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for cupola
  • Here you'll come face-to-face with original stonework from the roof, including the bulky lantern cupola.
  • The room has a cupola and a window seat overlooking the grounds.
  • In the center of the hall ceiling is one of the house's main features: an impressive cupola with windows.
  • The cupola of the church is adorned with majolica tiles.
  • The mosaics in the cupola literally glitter with stars.
  • The latter left the room and mounted the stairs to the cupola on the roof of the white court house.
  • Far overhead, at the building's apex, a cupola acts as a vent.
  • Rafters radiate from the cupola to support the round roof.
  • The final effect was stately: a white building with a blue and white cupola topped by a weather vane.
  • Now and again a whimsically painted steeple breaks the horizon, its gilded cupola glittering in the bright spring sun.
British Dictionary definitions for cupola


a roof or ceiling in the form of a dome
a small structure, usually domed, on the top of a roof or dome
a protective dome for a gun on a warship
a vertical air-blown coke-fired cylindrical furnace in which iron is remelted for casting
Derived Forms
cupolated (ˈkjuːpəˌleɪtɪd) adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Italian, from Late Latin cūpula a small cask, from Latin cūpa tub
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 cupola

1540s, from Italian cupola, from Late Latin cupula "a little tub," diminutive of Latin cupa "cask, barrel" (see cup (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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cupola in Medicine

cupola cu·po·la (kyōō'pə-lə)
A cup-shaped or domelike structure.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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cupola in Culture
cupola [(kyooh-puh-luh)]

A small ornamental structure rising from a roof. Cupolas are often dome shaped.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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