squinch

squinch

1 [skwinch]
noun Architecture.
a small arch, corbeling, or the like, built across the interior angle between two walls, as in a square tower for supporting the side of a superimposed octagonal spire.

Origin:
1490–1500; variant of scunch, short for scuncheon, Middle English sconch(e)on < Middle French escoinson, esconchon; see sconcheon

Dictionary.com Unabridged

squinch

2 [skwinch]
verb (used with object)
1.
to contort (the features) or squint.
2.
to squeeze together or contract.
verb (used without object)
3.
to squeeze together or crouch down, as to fit into a smaller space.

Origin:
1830–40; origin uncertain; cf. squint

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
squinch (skwɪntʃ)
 
n
Also called: squinch arch a small arch, corbelling, etc, across an internal corner of a tower, used to support a superstructure such as a spire
 
[C15: from obsolete scunch, from Middle English sconcheon, from Old French escoinson, from es-ex-1 + coin corner]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

squinch

in architecture, any of several devices by which a square or polygonal room has its upper corners filled in to form a support for a dome: by corbelling out the courses of masonry, each course projecting slightly beyond the one below; by building one or more arches diagonally across the corner; by building in the corner a niche with a half dome at its head; or by filling the corner with a little conical vault that has an arch on its outer diagonal face and its apex in the corner

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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