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  • Ricardo Escobar

The Archi-Slang Dictionary

This blog offers a comprehensive list of 100 essential architecture terms that every architecture student needs to know. From "abutment" to "yoke," this glossary covers a wide range of terminology used in the field of architecture. The definitions provided are concise and easy to understand, making this resource a valuable tool for architecture students and professionals alike. Whether you're just starting out in your studies or are well into your career, this glossary is an essential reference for anyone working in the field of architecture.


This blog offers a comprehensive list of 100 essential architecture terms that every architecture student needs to know.

As an architecture student, I remember the professors talking and using words that I had never heard before. They assumed that I knew everything, but that wasn't the case, especially since English was my second language. I struggled to keep up with the terminology and felt like I was always a step behind.

That's why I decided to create this architectural glossary. I wanted to create a resource that would help other students understand and learn the terminology used in architecture. I researched and compiled a list of 100 essential architecture terms, along with concise definitions and explanations. My goal was to create a guide that would be easy to use and understand so that other students wouldn't have to struggle the way I did.

I hope this glossary will be a valuable resource for other architecture students and professionals, helping them understand better and navigate the field of architecture. Whether you're just starting out in your studies or are well into your career, I hope that this glossary will be a helpful reference for you.


ps: I'm going to keep adding more words in time


  • Aisle: a long passage or walkway, especially in a church, separated from the main part by rows of pillars or columns.

  • Baluster: a short pillar, typically cylindrical and made of stone or wood, supporting the handrail of a staircase or serving as a division between panels of a balustrade.

  • Balustrade: a railing supported by balusters, especially one forming a parapet to a balcony or landing.

  • Capital: the top part of a column, typically decorated and supporting the load above it.

  • Column: a vertical pillar, typically round, supporting an arch, a roof, or a building.

  • Cornice: a projecting horizontal decorative molding along the top of a wall or building.

  • Cupola: a small structure on top of a roof or dome, used as a lookout or to admit light or air.

  • Dome: a circular roof with a circular base, typically of a building or structure.

  • Facade: the front of a building, especially one facing a public area.

  • Gable: the triangular part of a wall at the end of a pitched roof.

  • Gallery: a long, narrow room or corridor, especially one designed for the display of art.

  • Pavilion: a freestanding structure, typically open on one side, used for shelter or as a decorative feature in a garden or park.

  • Pediment: a triangular or semicircular gable forming the top of the entrance to a Greek temple or other classical building.

  • Portico: a porch or covered walkway, usually with a roof supported by columns, at the entrance to a building.

  • Spire: a tall, narrow, pointed structure on top of a building, typically a church.

  • Vault: an arched structure, typically made of stone or brick, forming a ceiling or roof.

  • Veranda: a roofed platform along the outside of a house, typically at the front or back, used for leisure

  • Acroterion: a decorative stone object, such as a statuette or urn, placed on a roof, pediment, or pinnacle.

  • Arcature: a decorative arrangement of arches, especially one forming a feature of a building's facade.

  • Arcade: a series of arches supported by columns or piers, used as a walkway or as a decorative feature.

  • Atrium: a large, open central area, typically roofed and with a glass ceiling, in a building.

  • Buttress: a structure, typically of stone or brick, built against a wall to support it or reinforce it.

  • Cornice: a horizontal decorative molding that projects along the top of a wall or building.

  • Crenellation: a series of regular indentations or merlons along the top of a wall or tower, giving the appearance of a row of battlements.

  • Cupola: a small, dome-shaped structure on top of a roof or larger dome, used as a lookout or to admit light or air.

  • Finial: a decorative ornament, such as a spire or vase, placed on top of a peak, arch, or gable.

  • Minaret: a tall, slender tower, typically part of a mosque, with a balcony from which a muezzin calls Muslims to prayer.

  • Oriel: a projecting window, typically with a curved or decorated base, supported on brackets or corbels.

  • Parapet: a low wall along the edge of a roof, terrace, or balcony, typically serving as a guardrail.

  • Turret: a small tower forming part of a castle or fortification and rising above the surrounding buildings or walls.

  • Arris: the sharp edge formed where two flat surfaces meet at an angle, such as the corner of a cube.

  • Battlement: a parapet along the top of a wall, typically with regular gaps or indentations, giving the appearance of a series of alternating merlons and crenels.

  • Boss: a raised, decorative projection or ornament, typically found on the ceiling of a church or other large building.

  • Cornice molding: a decorative molding along the top of a wall, typically below the roof line, used to hide the joint between the wall and the ceiling.

  • Crenel: one of the gaps or indentations in a battlement or crenellation.

  • Dentil: a small, decorative block with a tooth-like projection, typically used in a repeating pattern along a cornice or other molding.

  • Eaves: the lower edge of a roof that projects beyond the side of a building, typically used to throw rainwater clear of the walls.

  • Fret: a decorative interlacing pattern, often found on the underside of a cornice or other molding.

  • Gablet: a small gable, typically triangular in shape, set into a larger gable.

  • Lintel: a horizontal structural member, typically of stone or wood, that supports the load above an opening, such as a door or window.

  • Muntin: a narrow strip of wood or metal that divides a window into smaller panes or lights.

  • Pargeting: the decorative plastering or covering of a wall, typically with patterns or reliefs.

  • Quoin: a solid, external corner of a building, typically made of stone or brick and often projecting beyond the wall surface.

  • Spandrel: the space between the curve of an arch and the rectangular frame around it, typically filled with decorative molding or a panel.

  • Tracery: decorative stone work, typically in the form of interlacing patterns or openwork, found in the upper parts of a window or other opening.

  • Backfill: the material, such as dirt or gravel, used to fill a trench or the area around a foundation.

  • Batch plant: a facility where concrete is mixed and prepared for delivery to a construction site.

  • Bridging: temporary supports used to span an opening or void, such as in a floor or ceiling, during construction.

  • Curing: the process of allowing concrete to harden and strengthen over time, typically by keeping it moist and at a consistent temperature.

  • Grading: the process of leveling and smoothing the surface of a construction site.

  • Mudsill: the lowest horizontal framing member of a building, typically resting on the foundation and supporting the floor joists.

  • Rebar: short for "reinforcing bar," a steel bar used to reinforce concrete and other masonry structures.

  • Scaffolding: a temporary platform, typically made of metal or wood, used by workers to access high construction site areas.

  • Shoring: the process of supporting or stabilizing a structure, such as a building or bridge, during construction or repair.

  • Tie beam: a horizontal beam used to connect and stabilize the tops of walls or columns.

  • Trench: a long, narrow excavation dug into the ground, typically used to lay pipes or cables or as a foundation for a structure.

  • Underpinning: the process of strengthening or supporting the foundation of an existing building.

  • Waterstop: a strip of material, such as rubber or plastic, used to seal joints in concrete structures and prevent water from seeping through.

  • Anchor bolt: a bolt used to secure a structure, such as a building or bridge, to the ground.

  • Apron: a protective or decorative panel, often made of metal or stone, attached to the base of a building or other structure.

  • Beam: a structural member, typically made of wood, steel, or concrete, used to support the loads of a structure.

  • Cantilever: a projecting beam or structure supported at one end and projecting into space, without external support.

  • Casing: the outer framing or cladding of a window, door, or other opening.

  • Clerestory: a row of windows set high in a wall, typically above the level of the adjacent roof.

  • Corbel: a projecting bracket or block of stone, wood, or brick, used to support a beam or other weight.

  • Coursed masonry: masonry in which the units, such as bricks or stones, are laid in regular courses or rows.

  • Curing compound: a liquid applied to the surface of newly placed concrete to prevent moisture loss and promote curing.

  • Footing: the lower part of a foundation, typically wider than the rest, used to distribute the weight of a structure over a larger area.

  • Framing: the skeletal structure of a building, typically made of wood, steel, or concrete, used to support the loads of the building.

  • Girt: a horizontal structural member, typically made of steel or wood, used to support the walls of a building.

  • Joist: a horizontal structural member, typically made of wood or steel, used to support the floor or ceiling of a building.

  • Louvre: an opening, often with a slanted or horizontal slats, used to admit light or air and block rain and direct sunlight.

  • Masonry: the art or technique of building with bricks, stones, or concrete blocks.

  • Pier: vertical support, often made of stone or concrete, used to bear the weight of a bridge, building, or other structure.

  • Pilaster: a rectangular pillar or column, typically projecting only slightly from a wall and used for decoration.

  • Plinth: the base or platform upon which a column, pedestal, or statue stands.

  • ribbed slab: a type of concrete slab with ribs or projections on the underside, used to reduce the amount of material required and increase the slab's stiffness.

  • Riser: the vertical face of a step, typically made of wood or concrete.

  • Sash: the frame of a window, typically containing one or more panes of glass.

  • Stairway: a series of steps leading from one level to another.

  • Stringer: a structural member, typically made of wood or steel, that supports the treads and risers of a stairway.

  • Terra cotta: a fired clay used for decorative or structural purposes, such as roofing tiles or ornamental panels.

  • Tread: the horizontal surface of a step, typically made of wood or concrete.

  • Trowel: a tool with a flat or concave blade, used for spreading, smoothing, or shaping materials such as mortar or concrete.

  • Wainscot: a lower part of the wall of a room, typically finished with wood paneling or plaster.

  • Abutment: a supporting structure, such as a wall or pier, at the end of a bridge or other structure.

  • Adze: a hand tool with a curved blade, used for shaping and smoothing wood.

  • Aggregate: a material, such as sand, gravel, or crushed stone, used to make concrete or asphalt.

  • Architrave: the lower part of an entablature, typically decorated and supporting the lintel or arch above it.

  • Arris rail: a rail at the corner of a staircase, typically forming a decorative transition between the treads and risers.

  • Batt: a piece of insulation, typically made of fiberglass or foam, used to fill gaps or cavities in a building's envelope.

  • Batten: a narrow strip of wood or other material used to cover joints or seams, such as in a paneled wall or roof.

  • Batt insulation: insulation, typically made of fiberglass or foam, installed in sheets or rolls between the framing members of a building's envelope.

  • Bower: a rustic, shaded retreat or summerhouse, typically in a garden or park.

  • Brace: a structural member used to support or stabilize a structure.

  • Bracket: a projecting support, often ornamental, used to support a shelf, beam, or other structure.

  • Carport: a covered structure for parking vehicles, typically with open sides.

  • Casement: a window that opens on hinges along one side, typically attached to its frame by one or more pivots.

  • Casing bead: a decorative molding used to finish the edges of window or door casings.

  • Chiaroscuro: the use of strong contrasts between light and shadow to create a dramatic effect in art or architecture.

  • Dado: the lower part of a wall, typically decorated differently from the upper part and often separated by a molding or dado rail.

  • Eavesdrop: to secretly listen to a private conversation, often by standing under the eaves of a building.

  • Fluting: a series of shallow, concave grooves, often running vertically, used to decorate a column or pilaster.

  • Gazebo: a small, roofed structure, typically open on all sides, used for relaxation or entertainment.

  • Hipped roof: a roof with sloping ends and sides, forming a pyramid shape.

  • Jamb: the side frame of a door or window, typically including the vertical posts and horizontal head and sill.

  • Latticework: a framework of diagonal or crisscrossed bars or strips, used as a decorative or supportive element.

  • Mansard roof: a roof with a double slope on each side, the lower slope being steeper than the upper.

  • Niche: a shallow recess, often semicircular or polygonal in shape, used to display a statue or other ornament.

  • Ogee: a decorative molding with a double curve, shaped like an S.

  • Palisade: a fence or wall made of wooden stakes or poles.

  • Quoins: masonry blocks, typically at the corners of a building, that are larger or finished differently from the rest of the wall.

  • Rake: the angle or slope of a roof or gable.

  • Sconce: a light fixture, often ornamental, mounted on a wall and typically using a candle or electric bulb.

  • Trim: decorative molding or other finishing elements, such as baseboards or crown molding, used to finish the edges or corners of a building.

  • Valance: a decorative border or covering, often of fabric, hanging from the top of a window or bed.

  • Wainscot: a decorative paneling or cladding, typically made of wood, used to cover the lower part of a wall.

  • Weatherboard: a thin board, typically of wood, used as exterior cladding on a building.

  • Yoke: a horizontal beam or frame connecting two vertical supports, such as the posts of a door or window.

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