Definition of cupola in US English:



  • 1A small dome, especially a small dome on a drum on top of a larger dome, adorning a roof or ceiling.

    • ‘And the weathervane-topped cupola's operable windows draw cooling breezes through the interior of the house.’
    • ‘From the age-old cupolas and minarets, vibrant markets to skyscraping buildings and pulsating nightlife, Cairo has it all.’
    • ‘White walls and the golden cupolas of the churches can be seen clearly against the screen of the blue sky.’
    • ‘The cupola and the concrete construction were corroded, the masonry was wet, and plaster work was peeling off.’
    • ‘The upward pull of a starry cupola or the mesmerizing allure of a sun-drenched atrium are some obvious examples.’
    • ‘Vents in the facade, the cupolas, and the oculi inside allowed air to circulate throughout the building.’
    • ‘The large building is built in the traditional style with barrel vaulted ceilings and cupolas.’
    • ‘When daylight came, already the roof of the dome, with its cupola and lantern, had fallen in, its timbers burning fiercely.’
    • ‘At times, the flourish over the city of towers and spires, domes, cupolas and pinnacles has an insubstantial visionary quality, seeming detached from the sturdy fabric beneath.’
    • ‘It was completed 160 years later in Renaissance style with rendered brickwork and a copper-covered cupola.’
    • ‘Inside, the leaks were stopped, the floors retiled, and the beautiful stained glass was cleaned and outside you can now look up to fine white verandahs and pretty cupolas.’
    • ‘The scaffolding reaches to the top of the cupola that adorns the roof giving the builders a perch almost 100 feet up.’
    • ‘Most manufacturers make their cupolas with copper-cladded roof structures, which are beautiful and blend with virtually any type of roofing.’
    • ‘An interior staircase is topped by a cupola with skylights.’
    • ‘On one project, the heliodon helped the architects size the overhang on a cupola and observe the effects of clerestory windows on the spaces below.’
    • ‘In the morning from my twelfth-floor hotel room I watch the burning sun come up out of an early mist, lighting the cupolas and copper domes of New Delhi's neo-classical buildings with fire.’
    • ‘It has arcades all around, a pavilion at the eastern end has crenellated roof and a cupola of glass mosaic.’
    • ‘An octagonal cupola, along with much of the original material, required extensive reconstruction.’
    • ‘He would say, ' No, enlarge that tower, and let's put two cupolas on top '.’
    • ‘The pedestrian approach is softened by brick pavers laid in a radial design reinforcing the centerline of the building and the cupola on the roof.’
    vault, rotunda, arched roof, arched ceiling
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A gun turret; a small domed hatch above a gun turret on some tanks.
      • ‘The commander sat in the turret cupola, looking awfully smug.’
      • ‘He was still on alert in his commander's cupola, in his vehicle.’
      • ‘The crew consists of the driver plus four or three operators in the cupola, a commander, a gun layer and an ammunition loader.’
      • ‘A 7.62-mm machine gun is located on the commander's cupola.’
      • ‘The vehicle is protected with an armoured superstructure and fitted with an armoured observation cupola.’
      • ‘The loader has a machine gun, mounted on the cupola.’
      • ‘Firing ports are provided for the crews' personal weapons and a machine-gun mounting is fitted on the left turret cupola with an optional machine-gun.’
      • ‘Down on the ground he remains at his station within the commander's cupola of his personnel carrier.’
      • ‘The driver has three episcopic sights and the commander's observation cupola has five episcopes.’
      • ‘The commander's cupola in the centre of the vehicle is equipped with five periscopic sights which give 360° vision.’
      • ‘The cupola can also be fitted with panoramic stabilised sight.’
      • ‘One of our weapons was the .50 caliber machine gun mounted in an armored cupola atop the turret.’
      • ‘Atop the all-welded turret are the commander's cupola (with single hatch cover) on the left and the loader's hatch on the right.’
      • ‘As he watched, a hatch motored open on the forward gunner's cupola and a helmeted visage favored him with a toothy, wolfish grin.’
    2. 1.2 A cylindrical furnace for refining metals, with openings at the bottom for blowing in air and originally with a dome leading to a chimney above.
      • ‘In duplexing, the iron is melted in a cupola or electric arc furnace, and the molten metal is transferred to a coreless or channel-type induction furnace for holding and pouring.’
      • ‘It erected the first cupola furnace in the United States in 1835.’
      • ‘And after John Wilkinson patented the small, slender, metal-clad cupola furnace in 1794, Founders gained greater control of the remelting process.’
      • ‘That is probably why its testing of a graphic that explains what a cupola is (a furnace that melts tons of scrap) scored so well with participants.’
      • ‘The trainees man blast furnaces, or cupolas, in Kawaguchi, a city with a population of 470,000 just north of Tokyo.’


Mid 16th century: Italian, from late Latin cupula ‘small cask or burying vault’, diminutive of cupa ‘cask’.