Definition of scaffold in English:



  • 1A raised wooden platform used formerly for the public execution of criminals.

    • ‘About a hundred male witnesses now filled the seats in the cellblock where the scaffold had been constructed, and outside a crowd of over five hundred of both sexes had begun to gather hours before.’
    • ‘The granting of the charter itself featured prominently with artefacts from medieval life, including a quiver of arrows and the Earl of Derby's execution is marked with a replica scaffold and display featuring lilies.’
    • ‘At a minimum, it took a cartman to hire his team and his labor, a carpenter to build the scaffold, a hangman to do the job.’
    • ‘I've never had any desire to step into the limelight, so climbing on to the stage felt like mounting a scaffold.’
    • ‘He was dangling from a hook, a few feet off a wooden scaffold.’
    • ‘I had heard stories of those that had worked up the courage to try; their bodies swung from scaffolds in the middle of the town square so that any who were planning likewise understood the underlying and brutal message: To try is to loose.’
    • ‘Without Elizabeth's protection after 1569, moreover, Mary might well have knelt at the scaffold years before her execution in 1587.’
    • ‘Several ‘executions’ had taken place within the past few days at Pentonville Prison on the scaffold, which had been the scene of the final exit of numerous notorious criminals.’
    • ‘In Book 3 of the New Arcadia, Pamela utters her prayer shortly before she too is seen being taken to the scaffold for execution.’
    • ‘On the scaffold, before the noose is placed about his neck, his chains and the rope that binds his hands are struck off, and he is asked what he has to say.’
    • ‘After being whipped and branded on the scaffold, he had to stay in a workhouse for 12 years.’
    • ‘There on the scaffold she suffered scorn and public admonishment.’
    • ‘Hester Prynne, convicted of adultery, is taken from the prison and set on the scaffold in the town square for public humiliation.’
    • ‘And it was a really appalling hanging, in the respect that the minister kept them on the scaffold waiting for 25 minutes as he gave a sermon.’
    • ‘Where the condemned husband-murderer is given the chance to testify publicly on the scaffold, the sati nearly always proceeds in silence.’
    • ‘Rupert Everett was beheaded at 2pm on January 30 in their simulated scaffold, just as Charles had been in 1649.’
    • ‘The criminal would mount the scaffold and stand upon this trapdoor, which would then open, precipitating the person into a fall of some feet.’
    • ‘The marginal application of bread was inadvertently found by Queen Marie Antoinette of France who later paid with her head for her discovery on the scaffold during the French Revolution.’
    • ‘But whether displayed on a public scaffold in the eighteenth century, or the result of a scientific killing within the confines of a modern prison, the body of the executed criminal remains a vivid and striking symbol of the power of the law.’
    • ‘They were all angling for a better view of a simple wooden scaffold bearing a lone noose, which dangled in the breeze.’
  • 2A structure made using scaffolding.

    • ‘Workers in red coveralls scurry around building scaffolds.’
    • ‘The first sequence helps cells stick to the scaffold.’
    • ‘A builder was struck over the head with a scaffold pole after trying to stop thieves fleeing from a building site with a power tool.’
    • ‘Duncan and his entourage were perched on a hanging scaffold, like window washers.’
    • ‘Then, the printer prints the cells on to a plastic surface, which acts like a scaffold to support the cells.’
    • ‘His arms were aching in pain as he swung above the floor of the scaffold.’
    • ‘Everybody was agreed that it is good practice for the roofers, working on a roof of this sort, to work either from scaffolding, or on scaffold boards, or from access stagings which were placed on the roof.’
    • ‘When setting a plank between ladders as a scaffold, be sure it extends a foot on each side and is clamped or nailed to its support’
    • ‘The lawyers consulted with two clients who had fallen from scaffolds, one who'd fallen from a ladder, and one who'd been scalded by hot water in her bathtub - all before lunch.’
    • ‘Then we hit on friends and neighbors to contribute toe board brackets, toe boards, scaffolds, ladders and moral support.’
    • ‘Two shots from within the future auditorium seem to tunnel through scores of crisscrossing scaffolds toward the stage as light filters down through swooping ceiling tarps.’
    • ‘Spurred on by the sight of the scaffold and the thought of playing in mud for a good cause, I vowed to come back to help work on the walls.’
    • ‘It was his business to depict palaces and royal chapels, but he did not hesitate to show them without majesty - under scaffolds or being repaired.’
    • ‘Holes in the marble walls created by the original builder's wooden scaffold have further contributed to the weakness.’
    • ‘Working on roofs, high scaffolds, lift equipment or other areas where you're elevated well above ground level presents an ever-present hazard for professional and homeowner alike.’
    • ‘It is likely the tower will be dismantled piece by piece using a large crane and a scaffold to support the remaining structure.’
    • ‘The back view of the piece revealed a bleacher-like structure of shallow risers buttressed by a plywood scaffold supporting both the pulley and a large fan that kept the floating arch aloft.’
    • ‘A loose board crashes into a scaffold John is working on - more broken glass.’
    • ‘He stood in the shadows of a downtown Manhattan office building, shielded from the cold, driving rainstorm by the scaffold overhead and the leather trench coat covering his body.’


  • Attach scaffolding to (a building)

    ‘the soot-black scaffolded structures’
    • ‘At Winchester cathedral, for example, the west front must have remained scaffolded and unfinished for 25 years between the building of the lower porches in the mid-1340s and the resumption of work after 1370.’
    • ‘A senior council official said: ‘When we scaffolded it, it gave the inspector a closer examination of the stone and he was horrified to see bits coming off in his hand.’’
    • ‘At present, the main fa¢ade on Kildare Street is scaffolded and covered with green protective netting.’
    • ‘About 60% of the building was scaffolded at one time.’
    • ‘This will enable an early start on urgent work to the spire, which is due to be scaffolded at the end of March.’
    • ‘Now, on the left-hand side, are the Pavilions, all scaffolded and covered by hoardings.’
    • ‘The tower will be scaffolded throughout and the clock faces will be removed for refurbishment, re-glazing and re-gilding at the end of August.’
    • ‘Glasgow-based Simon Starling's Ladder 5.4m is a scaffolded crow's nest on which you can just see welding gear.’
    • ‘The work will require scaffolding the entire building including the spire but services to the public will not be interfered with as almost all of the work will be external.’
    • ‘But my favourite pulpit - now we're on the subject - is hidden in the church of San Giovanni del Toro, opposite the closed, barred and scaffolded Caruso Belvedere hotel.’
    • ‘You'd ask Daz if he could scaffold your house.’
    • ‘Once the 4m high hoarding is in place, the tower section will be scaffolded and work will begin.’


Middle English (denoting a temporary platform from which to repair or erect a building): from Anglo-Norman French, from Old French (e)schaffaut, from the base of catafalque.