One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
nounPlural caryatids, Plural caryatidesArchitecture
A stone carving of a draped female figure, used as a pillar to support the entablature of a Greek or Greek-style building.
column, post, pole, support, upright, vertical, baluster, pier, pile, piling, pilaster, stanchion, standard, prop, buttressView synonyms
- ‘She entered the familiar vestibule, with its scarred stone caryatids and crumbling pillars, and walked down the short flight of iron-railed steps to the main chamber of Father's rooms.’
- ‘Several of the miniatures feature caryatids holding up the mountains and temples.’
- ‘Modigliani's early, remarkable images of caryatids (female figures that serve as columns) are sometimes as strong as his later portraits.’
- ‘We have much of the frieze of the treasury of the Siphnians of c. 525, as well as one of the caryatid figures supporting the porch; other buildings so decorated are extremely scrappily preserved.’
- ‘The porch over the main entrance is supported by caryatids, set in front of the asymmetrical facade as a direct historicist quotation.’
Mid 16th century: via French and Italian from Latin caryatides, from Greek karuatides, plural of karuatis ‘priestess of Artemis at Caryae’, from Karuai (Caryae) in Laconia.
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