Definition of dentil in English:



  • [often as modifier] (in classical architecture) one of a number of small, rectangular blocks resembling teeth and used as a decoration under the soffit of a cornice.

    ‘a dentil frieze’
    • ‘The opening at one end of the shrine is closed not by the paneled doors characteristic of temples but by a pair of low gates carved to represent wickerwork and surmounted by a row of inverted dentils.’
    • ‘Perhaps inspired by the elegant Georgian style houses he recalled from his boyhood in Haverhill, Massachusetts, he trimmed his two-story clapboarded house with quoins and a cornice with dentils.’
    • ‘Highlighted items are the paintwork gilding to the capitals in the entrance hall and dentil frieze details in the dining room.’
    • ‘The diamond-patterned tortoiseshell panel, offset with faux dentils of ivory and macassar ebony, recalls patterns he also used for wall hangings.’
    • ‘The marble was part of the dentil moulding that serves as a frame for the frieze of statues atop the court's main entrance.’


Late 16th century: from Italian dentello or obsolete French dentille, diminutive of dent tooth from Latin dens, dent-.