Definition of arbour in English:


(US arbor)


  • A shady garden alcove with the sides and roof formed by trees or climbing plants trained over a framework.

    • ‘In the corners of the garden are four huge rounded, beehive-like arbours that reach a height of 9m and provide a lovely place to sit.’
    • ‘Ornamental trees add a touch of splendour to long avenues, while leafy plants in an arbour soften the sunlight.’
    • ‘The saplings have been planted in a circle so that they will form an arbour.’
    • ‘Heliopolis was the ancient name of the ancient city hidden in mountains, the city of neat small palaces among flowers and bushes, marble buildings and arbours in vineyards.’
    • ‘When Patsy was here last we went to a garden centre which had some great arbours and swinging seats.’
    • ‘This vine is best suited for large arbours, climbing slopes or house walls.’
    • ‘At about two years old, his three-foot girth spills out onto the flagstone path, causing visitors to pause on the way to the arbour.’
    • ‘They have planted a formal, yew encircled rose garden, with blue-painted pergolas and arbours, and have recently planted a gravel garden beside the sea road, with grasses, Verbena bonariensis, cistus, eryngiums and grasses.’
    • ‘The most popular garden structures, not counting the ubiquitous shed, include trellises, arbours and pergolas.’
    • ‘This sun loving plant is well suited to grow on both barbed wire or other fences, arbours and trellises.’
    • ‘We have a scented country garden and pond, water features, gravel gardens, arbours, pergolas, a summerhouse, many rare and unusual perennials, and 120 clematis.’
    • ‘But what of the path, the terrace, the arbour, the fencing, the shed or the tree house?’
    • ‘A bridge over a stream leads beneath a bower of pink roses into a frothy maze of flower-strewn pathways and rose-covered arbours.’
    • ‘Ivaric raced down to the stables, shouted at a groom to saddle his grey horse Maila, and smiled as he saw his father sitting in a shady arbour at one end of the courtyard, looking thoughtful.’
    • ‘Graham wants to grow vegetables as well as flowers and I want to plant a couple of trees to make a woody arbour for my old age.’
    • ‘In just four-and-a-half days the 66 trainee managers from all over the country had to build a barbeque area, design and paint a mural on the kitchen garden wall, build an arbour, as well as create a sculpture on the sensory trail at the centre.’
    • ‘The first project, an arched walkway, which will grow into a green living corridor led to the second, an arbour, which will provide shelter whenever the summer sun visits Mayo.’
    • ‘The arbours were wooden dining halls, surrounded by a hedge and ditch with an elaborate entrance, that were used as places of entertainment and feasting.’
    • ‘It was quite nice to begin with but after a few years it became neglected and the vandals moved in, smashing down arbours, trees, the children's play area and the sports hut.’
    • ‘With the increasing provision of foodstuffs from local sources, there was a development around the sixteenth century into formal, ornamental gardens, with mazes, arbours and topiary, as a complementary adjunct to the house.’
    bower, alcove, grotto, recess, pergola, gazebo, summer house
    shady place, shelter, hideaway, retreat, sanctuary
    View synonyms


Middle English (also denoting a lawn or flower bed): from Old French erbier, from erbe grass, herb, from Latin herba. The phonetic change to ar- (common in words having er- before a consonant) was assisted by association with Latin arbor tree.