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.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This vine is best suited for large arbours, climbing slopes or house walls.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘We have a scented country garden and pond, water features, gravel gardens, arbours, pergolas, a summerhouse, many rare and unusual perennials, and 120 clematis.’
    • ‘The most popular garden structures, not counting the ubiquitous shed, include trellises, arbours and pergolas.’
    • ‘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 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But what of the path, the terrace, the arbour, the fencing, the shed or the tree house?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Ornamental trees add a touch of splendour to long avenues, while leafy plants in an arbour soften the sunlight.’
    • ‘When Patsy was here last we went to a garden centre which had some great arbours and swinging seats.’
    • ‘A bridge over a stream leads beneath a bower of pink roses into a frothy maze of flower-strewn pathways and rose-covered arbours.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The saplings have been planted in a circle so that they will form an arbour.’
    • ‘This sun loving plant is well suited to grow on both barbed wire or other fences, arbours and trellises.’
    bower, alcove, grotto, recess, pergola, gazebo, summer house
    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’.