One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A square pilaster on either side of a door, or at the corner of a building.
Mid 17th century; earliest use found in John Evelyn (1620–1706), diarist and writer. From classical Latin antae square pilasters from the same Indo-European base as Sanskrit ātā door frame (rare, only in plural) and Old Icelandic and-, ǫnd porch.
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