One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Projections resembling steps on the sloping part of a gable, common in Flemish architecture and 16- and 17th-century Scottish buildings.Also called crow steps
- ‘The corbie steps of the west front, with those of the small western front of the North Chapel, which projects beyond the tower, are the only examples in the island.’
- ‘The circular Doocot is 17th- or 18th-century with corbie steps on two sides; the lean-to roof has fallen in.’
Early 19th century: from corbie and step (from the idea that the projections were suitable as steps for a perching bird such as a crow).
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