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[span-druh l] /ˈspæn drəl/
Architecture. an area between the extradoses of two adjoining arches, or between the extrados of an arch and a perpendicular through the extrados at the springing line.
(in a steel-framed building) a panellike area between the head of a window on one level and the sill of a window immediately above.
Philately. the decoration occupying the space at the corner of a stamp between the border and an oval or circular central design.
Origin of spandrel
1470-80; earlier spaundrell, probably < Anglo-French spaundre, itself perhaps cognate with Old French espandre to expand Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for spandrel
  • It features a tapered arch ring, which is cast integrally with the plain-faced concrete spandrel walls.
  • Poured concrete, open spandrel arch bridge, one of two in the state.
  • The bridge is a ten-span poured concrete, open spandrel structure.
  • Again, second floor windows are separated from third floor windows by terra cotta spandrel panels inset in brick.
  • The windows and spandrel form vertical bands alternating with the stone piers.
  • Although it is in fact a closed spandrel arch, it has a graceful blind arcade to imitate an open spandrel arch.
  • They are tightly spaced at the spandrel and open as they rise to eye level.
  • The structures are arch type spans with spandrel walls.
British Dictionary definitions for spandrel


noun (architect)
an approximately triangular surface bounded by the outer curve of an arch and the adjacent wall
the surface area between two adjacent arches and the horizontal cornice above them
Word Origin
C15 spaundrell, from Anglo-French spaundre spandrel, from Old French spandre to spread, expand
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 spandrel

late 15c., "triangular space between the outer curves of an arch," apparently a diminutive of Anglo-French spaundre (late 14c.), perhaps a shortening of espandre "to expand, extend," from Latin expandre (see expand).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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