Word of the Day

Saturday, November 29, 2008


\BAL-uh-strayd; bal-uh-STRAYD\ , noun;
a railing at the side of a staircase or balcony to prevent people from falling
The camera is a couple of floors up, pointing out over the balustrade and down toward us on the ground floor.
-- Dan Zak, A Weekend in the Life of an Extra, Washington Post, April 26, 2003
This evening there wasn't even a truck in the yard, so there was no one to notice the individual leaning on the molded balustrade of the balcony, except perhaps for a pair of seagulls out on patrol, two white specks drifting across the sky.
-- Victor Pelevin, The Life Of Insects (Translated by Andrew Browmfield)
by 1644, "row of balusters," from French balustrade, from Italian balaustrata "provided with balusters," from balaustro "pillar," from balausta "flower of the wild pomegranate," from Greek balaustion (perhaps of Semitic origin, cf. Aramaic balatz "flower of the wild pomegranate"). Staircase uprights had lyre-like double curves, like the calyx tube of the pomegranate flower.
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