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[ped-uh-stl] /ˈpɛd ə stl/
an architectural support for a column, statue, vase, or the like.
a supporting structure or piece; base.
  1. a support for a desk, consisting of a boxlike frame containing drawers one above the other.
  2. a columnar support for a tabletop.
Building Trades. a bulge cast at the bottom of a concrete pile.
verb (used with object), pedestaled, pedestaling or (especially British) pedestalled, pedestalling.
to put on or supply with a pedestal.
set / put on a pedestal, to glorify; idealize:
When we first became engaged each of us set the other on a pedestal.
Origin of pedestal
1555-65; alteration of Middle French piedestal < Italian piedestallo, variant of piedistallo literally, foot of stall. See ped-2, de, stall1
Related forms
unpedestal, verb (used with object), unpedestaled, unpedestaling or (especially British) unpedestalled, unpedestalling. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for pedestal
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He could see at a glance that he was more firmly on his pedestal than ever.

    Count Bunker J. Storer Clouston
  • The sky was all now—the earth only a background or pedestal for the heavens.

    Wilfrid Cumbermede George MacDonald
  • It struck the solid bronze with a terrific crash and fell at the base of the pedestal whereon Ombos had stood a moment before.

    War and the Weird Forbes Phillips
  • She hastily arose and was about to step down from her pedestal when the door opened.

    Melomaniacs James Huneker
  • It was exactly in the position occupied, in my dream, by the pedestal on which the white lady stood.

    Phantastes George MacDonald
British Dictionary definitions for pedestal


a base that supports a column, statue, etc, as used in classical architecture
a position of eminence or supposed superiority (esp in the phrases place, put, or set on a pedestal)
  1. either of a pair of sets of drawers used as supports for a writing surface
  2. (as modifier): a pedestal desk
Word Origin
C16: from French piédestal, from Old Italian piedestallo, from pie foot + di of + stallo a stall
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 pedestal

1560s, "base supporting a column, statue, etc.," from Middle French piédestal (1540s), from Italian piedistallo "base of a pillar," from pie "foot" + di "of" + stallo "stall, place, seat," from a Germanic source (see stall (n.1)).

Spelling in English influenced by Latin pedem "foot." An Old English word for it was fotstan, literally "foot-stone." Figurative sense of put (someone) on a pedestal "regard as highly admirable" is attested from 1859.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with pedestal


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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