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[pi-las-ter] /pɪˈlæs tər/
noun, Architecture
a shallow rectangular feature projecting from a wall, having a capital and base and usually imitating the form of a column.
Origin of pilaster
1565-75; pile1 (in obsolete sense “pillar”) + -aster1, modeled on Italian pilastro or Medieval Latin pīlastrum
Related forms
underpilaster, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for pilaster
  • As they entered they beheld a shield suspended from a pilaster of gold.
  • Headrails shall be clamped on or set into top of each pilaster and secured to building walls.
  • Similar pilaster and brickwork appear on other facades of the building.
  • The one-story central piazza is supported by six pairs of square columns with one pilaster at each return.
  • The entrance is sheltered by a flat-roofed portico with paired fluted columns and pilaster responds.
  • Pairs of windows are visually separated from others by a two-story pilaster, supporting the undecorated entablature.
  • Make provisions for setting and securing continuous head rail at top of each pilaster.
  • Colored brick is decoratively utilized on the façade to outline pediment, architecture and pilaster design elements.
  • Above the belt course, a brick band punctuated by rectangular terracotta panels is above each pilaster.
  • There are two scroll-shaped brackets above each pilaster.
British Dictionary definitions for pilaster


a shallow rectangular column attached to the face of a wall
Derived Forms
pilastered, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from French pilastre, from Latin pīla pillar
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 pilaster

a square column, 1570s, from Middle French pilastre (1540s), from Italian pilastro, from Medieval Latin pilastrum (mid-14c.), from pila, "buttress, pile" (from Latin pila, see pillar) + Latin -aster, suffix "expressing incomplete resemblance" [Barnhart].

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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