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[skaf-uh ld, -ohld] /ˈskæf əld, -oʊld/
a temporary structure for holding workers and materials during the erection, repair, or decoration of a building.
an elevated platform on which a criminal is executed, usually by hanging.
a raised platform or stage for exhibiting spectacles, seating spectators, etc.
any raised framework.
a suspended platform that is used by painters, window washers, and others for working on a tall structure, as a skyscraper.
Metallurgy. any piling or fusion of materials in a blast furnace, obstructing the flow of gases and preventing the uniform descent of the charge.
a system of raised frameworks; scaffolding.
verb (used with object)
to furnish with a scaffold or scaffolding.
to support by or place on a scaffold.
Origin of scaffold
1300-50; Middle English scaffot, skaffaut, scaffalde < Old French escadafaut; akin to catafalque
Related forms
unscaffolded, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for scaffold
  • Yet the scaffold nearly was banished because it was considered too repugnant for a gallery showing.
  • The idea of building body parts on a scaffold made of collagen by using a patient's own cells is not new.
  • Regrowing bone requires a scaffold that is stiff, long-lasting and safe.
  • In laboratory tests, the fabric scaffold that the researchers have created had the same mechanical properties as native cartilage.
  • The author of the first sentence ended on the scaffold.
  • The slab of metal is mostly hollow, drilled out by machinists to leave an intricate triangular scaffold of narrow ribs.
  • They encased the cell packages in a plastic scaffold and implanted them into mice.
  • The airframe, if you could call it that, is fabricated from a steel scaffold.
  • These short amino acids are capable of creating a molecular scaffold that can bridge such gaps.
  • He was in a state of collapse, and had to be carried to the scaffold.
British Dictionary definitions for scaffold


/ˈskæfəld; -fəʊld/
a temporary metal or wooden framework that is used to support workmen and materials during the erection, repair, etc, of a building or other construction
a raised wooden platform on which plays are performed, tobacco, etc, is dried, or (esp formerly) criminals are executed
verb (transitive)
to provide with a scaffold
to support by means of a scaffold
Derived Forms
scaffolder, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French eschaffaut, from Vulgar Latin catafalicum (unattested); see catafalque
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 scaffold

mid-14c., "wooden framework used in building, etc., temporary structure for workmen to make walls," a shortening of an Old North French variant of Old French eschafaut "scaffold" (Modern French échafaud), probably altered (by influence of eschace "a prop, support") from chaffaut, from Vulgar Latin *catafalicum (see catafalque). Meaning "platform for a hanging" is from 1550s. Dutch schavot, German Schafott, Danish skafot are from French. As a verb from 1540s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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