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[joist] /dʒɔɪst/
any of a number of small, parallel beams of timber, steel, reinforced concrete, etc., for supporting floors, ceilings, or the like.
verb (used with object)
to furnish with or fix on joists.
Origin of joist
1325-75; Middle English giste < Old French < Latin *jacitum support, noun use of neuter of Latin jacitus (past participle of jacēre to lie), equivalent to jaci- variant stem + -tus past participle suffix
Related forms
joistless, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for joist
Historical Examples
  • To all the woodwork round the prison doors they did the like, leaving not a joist or a beam untouched.

  • He put his knee against it and shoved, but the joist held firm.

    The Web of the Golden Spider Frederick Orin Bartlett
  • Displaying greater care than it did when treating the slender roots, the carpenter measures out the requisite length on the joist.

    The Life of the Fly J. Henri Fabre
  • Fitz moved, joist in hand, towards the other side of the clump.

    Fitz the Filibuster George Manville Fenn
  • The supporting ropes are tied to these ropes and to the joist or holding piece overhead.

  • A joist was found on one end, driven nearly three feet into the ground.

  • He took the end of the tape and held it to the joist, while I walked ahead, with the reel rattling as I pulled it out.

    At Start and Finish William Lindsey
  • A roar of applause shook every board and joist of the building.

  • No man, other than a union carpenter, would be allowed to even set a joist.

    30,000 Locked Out. James C. Beeks
  • Two small forks or bucks-horns fastened to a joist are indispensable articles for the support of the rifle.

British Dictionary definitions for joist


a beam made of timber, steel, or reinforced concrete, used in the construction of floors, roofs, etc See also rolled-steel joist
(transitive) to construct (a floor, roof, etc) with joists
Word Origin
C14: from Old French giste beam supporting a bridge, from Vulgar Latin jacitum (unattested) support, from jacēre to lie
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 joist

early 14c. (late 13c. in Anglo-Latin), from Old French giste "beam supporting a bridge" (Modern French gîte), noun use of fem. past participle of gesir "to lie," from Latin iacere "to lie, rest," related to iacere "to throw" (see jet (v.)). Notion is of wooden beam on which boards "lie down."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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