from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A platform extending from a shore over water and supported by piles or pillars, used to secure, protect, and provide access to ships or boats.
  • n. Such a structure used predominantly for entertainment.
  • n. A supporting structure at the junction of connecting spans of a bridge.
  • n. Architecture Any of various vertical supporting structures, especially:
  • n. Architecture A pillar, generally rectangular in cross section, supporting an arch or roof.
  • n. Architecture The portion of a wall between windows, doors, or other openings.
  • n. Architecture A reinforcing structure that projects from a wall; a buttress.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A raised platform built from the shore out over water, supported on piles; used to secure, or provide access to shipping; a jetty.
  • n. A similar structure, especially at a seaside resort, used to provide entertainment.
  • n. A structure that projects tangentially from the shoreline to accommodate ships; often double-sided.
  • n. A structure supporting the junction between two spans of a bridge.
  • n. A rectangular pillar, or similar structure, that supports an arch, wall or roof.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n.
  • n. Any detached mass of masonry, whether insulated or supporting one side of an arch or lintel, as of a bridge; the piece of wall between two openings.
  • n. Any additional or auxiliary mass of masonry used to stiffen a wall. See buttress.
  • n. A projecting wharf or landing place.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A mole or jetty carried out into the sea, to serve as an embankment to protect vessels from the open sea, to form a harbor, etc.
  • n. A projecting quay, wharf, or other landing-place.
  • n. One of the supports of the spans of a bridge, or any structure of similar character.
  • n. In architecture or building:
  • n. The solid support from which an arch springs. See first cut under arch.
  • n. In medieval architecture, a large pillar or shaft; specifically, a compound or a square pillar.
  • n. One of the solid parts between openings in a wall, such as doors and windows.
  • n. The wall or post, of square or other form, to which a gate or door is hung.
  • n. In a physical laboratory or observatory, a structure, generally of masonry, designed by its stability to prevent vibration in instruments which are supported by it.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. (architecture) a vertical supporting structure (as a portion of wall between two doors or windows)
  • n. a support for two adjacent bridge spans
  • n. a platform built out from the shore into the water and supported by piles; provides access to ships and boats


Middle English per, bridge support, partly from Norman French pere, piere (from Old French puiere, a support, from puie, from puier, to support, from Vulgar Latin *podiāre, from Latin podium, platform; see podium) and partly from Medieval Latin pera (from Old North French pire, piere, breakwater, possibly from Latin petra, rock, from Greek petrā).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)



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  • -- Kingstown pier, Stephen said. Yes, a disappointed bridge. The words troubled their gaze.

    -- How, sir? Comyn asked. A bridge is across a river.

    Joyce, Ulysses, 2

    December 29, 2006