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.

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

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

1830–40; origin uncertain; cf. squint

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World English Dictionary
squinch (skwɪntʃ)
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


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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