Definition of peristyle in US English:



  • 1A row of columns surrounding a space within a building such as a court or internal garden or edging a veranda or porch.

    • ‘The presence of gardens and especially of a peristyle make one think of a domus, or patrician residence.’
    • ‘In it, he criticized the unity of place and time imposed by the classical theatre, which confined all the action to a banal peristyle and expelled all drama to the wings.’
    • ‘This form, upon which our modern atria are based, was enclosed on all sides by buildings with roofs sloping to a columned peristyle or walkway around a courtyard.’
    • ‘The sequence of these spaces in the palace suggests the atrium and peristyle of Roman houses, basic features of domestic architecture emphasized by the Roman writer Vitruvius.’
    • ‘The original building comprised a courtyard of enormous size with a full peristyle of eight columns on a side.’
    1. 1.1 An architectural space such as a court or porch that is surrounded or edged by a peristyle.
      • ‘She often spent her days in the peristyle, reading or playing the harp.’
      • ‘Portraits of famous Greek and Roman poets, orators, and statesmen filled libraries and peristyles.’
      • ‘The characteristic Pompeian house with its peristyle garden, planted with trees and shrubs, frequently had an outdoor dining area, shaded by a canopy of vines.’
      • ‘With luck, the place would have a working fountain, or at least rainwater in the peristyle garden.’
      • ‘One should perceive a bit further in the distance the colonnade forming the peristyle of the temple of Berecynthia.’


Early 17th century: from French péristyle, from Latin peristylum, from Greek peristulon, from peri- ‘around’ + stulos ‘pillar’.