One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Chiefly in Gothic architecture: a vault connecting the head of an arched window or door frame with the arch in the inner face of the wall in which it is set.
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in Robert Willis (1800–1875), engineer and architectural historian. From rear- + vault, after French arrière-voussure.
rear vault/ˈrɪə ˌvɒlt//ˈrɪə ˌvɔːlt/
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