Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Word of the Day 1/12/11

Plinth (noun)

1: the lowest part of the base of an architectural column
2: a block used as a base (as for a statue)

Examples: The museum workers reverently set the newly restored statue back onto an imposing plinth.

"Anthony put on his glasses and bent down, searching for a minute label taped to the marble plinth on which the Atlas figures stood." -- From Rose Tremain's 2010 novel Trespass

Did You Know?: "These ivy-clad arcades -- / These mouldering plinths ... are they all -- / All of the famed, and the colossal left…?" In these lines from "The Coliseum," Edgar Allan Poe alludes to a practical feature of classical architecture. The plinth serves the important purpose of raising the base of the column it supports above the ground, thus protecting it from dampness and mold. The humble plinth is usually a mere thick block. It’s humbly named, too, for the Greek word "plinthos" means simply "tile" or "brick." English writers have used "plinth," a shortened version of the Latin form "plinthus," since the beginning of the 17th century. The meaning was extended to bases for statues, vases, or busts in the 18th century.

Merriam-Webster Word of the Day

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