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[peer] /pɪər/
a structure built on posts extending from land out over water, used as a landing place for ships, an entertainment area, a strolling place, etc.; jetty.
(in a bridge or the like) a support for the ends of adjacent spans.
a square pillar.
a portion of wall between doors, windows, etc.
a pillar or post on which a gate or door is hung.
a support of masonry, steel, or the like for sustaining vertical pressure.
a long passageway or corridor that extends from a central area of a building, especially one at an airport that leads to boarding gates.
Origin of pier
late Old English
before 1150; Middle English pere, earlier (perhaps late Old English) per < Anglo-Latin pera, pēra pier of a bridge
Related forms
underpier, noun
Can be confused
dock, harbor, pier, wharf. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for pier
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • One afternoon he made his way to the pier at which the Albany boats landed.

    Ben, the Luggage Boy; Horatio Alger
  • Hope came down on the pier to Malbone, who was looking at the boats.

    Malbone Thomas Wentworth Higginson
  • He went out on the pier with the others, but remained in the rear.

    Whispering Tongues Homer Greene
  • On the south side of the pier a man had just tied up a motor-boat.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • Mimico climbed from the lighter to the pier and made ready to receive them.

    Hi Jolly! James Arthur Kjelgaard
British Dictionary definitions for pier


a structure with a deck that is built out over water, and used as a landing place, promenade, etc
a pillar that bears heavy loads, esp one of rectangular cross section
the part of a wall between two adjacent openings
another name for buttress (sense 1)
Word Origin
C12 per, from Anglo-Latin pera pier supporting a bridge
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 pier

mid-12c., "support of a span of a bridge," from Medieval Latin pera, of unknown origin, perhaps from Old North French pire "a breakwater," from Vulgar Latin *petricus, from Latin petra "rock" (see petrous), but OED is against this. Meaning "solid structure in a harbor, used as a landing place for vessels," is attested from mid-15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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