One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A grotesque carved human or animal face or figure projecting from the gutter of a building, typically acting as a spout to carry water clear of a wall.
- ‘Squat and few in number to begin with, by the thirteenth century gargoyles became more numerous and had developed the projecting form characteristic of gothic cathedrals.’
- ‘The ancient Greeks adorned important buildings with gargoyles to throw water away from the foundations.’
- ‘A balustrade emphasized by gargoyles encircled each of the three steps.’
- ‘They are irrigated by surface water poured from gargoyles, a torrent that in winter becomes magically frozen.’
- ‘Lucy thought it very ironic that gargoyles were supposed to be ugly to serve their purpose, but whenever she saw one she considered it adorable.’
- ‘It was said of the stonemasons who made those never-to-be-seen gargoyles that they carved for the eye of God.’
- ‘The building had marvelously designed statues of gargoyles, angels and some other demon looking like creatures.’
- ‘On a Gothic building it was natural to provide gargoyles at cornice level.’
- ‘A towering castle of mud has screaming faces and gargoyles sculpted into its crenellated turrets.’
- ‘It's jutting out from the corner of the roof, so it could conceivably be a gargoyle proper or a grotesque.’
- ‘These descend to gargoyles which drain onto chains down the column face to gullies at the bottom.’
- ‘Partially destroyed statues of giant gargoyles were scattered around the wrecked houses.’
- ‘In my case I have a small gargoyle figurine that I purchased from the Chicago Institute of Architecture.’
- ‘For them, skulls, gargoyles, devils, and gothic knickknacks are part of the decoration.’
- ‘They all seemed to blend modern and ancient architecture, with ornaments ranging from statues of Chinese dragons to Gothic gargoyles.’
- ‘The advertisement, featuring gargoyles superimposed on top of York Minster, was due to be shown on Yorkshire and Tyne Tees tonight and will be aired throughout the week.’
- ‘The worst of the attack seemed to be over, but there was a clear sign that the gargoyles had not yet finished.’
- ‘What could go better with a medieval unit than gargoyles?’
- ‘The synagogue is renowned for its bright white exterior and lion-headed gargoyles, which are unusual because animal forms are rarely used in Jewish art.’
- ‘It was a tall, grand old building of stone and steel, with ornate windows and gargoyles leering down at her from the ramparts.’
Middle English: from Old French gargouille ‘throat’, also ‘gargoyle’ (because of the water passing through the throat and mouth of the figure); related to Greek gargarizein ‘to gargle’ (imitating the sounds made in the throat).
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