squinch


squinch
squinch1
/skwinch/, n. Archit.
a small arch, corbeling, or the like, built across the interior angle between two walls, as in a square tower for supporting the side of a superimposed octagonal spire.
[1490-1500; var. of scunch, short for scuncheon, ME sconch(e)on < MF escoinson, esconchon; see SCONCHEON]
squinch2
/skwinch/, v.t.
1. to contort (the features) or squint.
2. to squeeze together or contract.
v.i.
3. to squeeze together or crouch down, as to fit into a smaller space.
[1830-40; orig. uncert.; cf. SQUINT]

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      in architecture, any of several devices by which a square or polygonal room has its upper corners filled in to form a support for a dome: by corbelling out the courses of masonry, each course projecting slightly beyond the one below; by building one or more arches diagonally across the corner; by building in the corner a niche with a half dome at its head; or by filling the corner with a little conical vault that has an arch on its outer diagonal face and its apex in the corner.

      The arched squinch that is often used in Byzantine architecture originally seems to have been developed, almost simultaneously, by the Roman builders of the late imperial period and the Sāsānians in Persia. In Italy the Romanesque squinch form is either the conical type as in the church of Sant'Ambrogio at Milan or a succession of arched rings as in the 13th-century central tower of the abbey church at Chiaravalle. More complex forms with niches and colonnettes are characteristic of the French Romanesque of Auvergny, as in the cathedral of Le Puy-en-Velay (late 11th and early 12th centuries); churches of southwestern France, such as Saint-Hilaire at Poitiers, use conical squinches of the Italian type.

      Islāmic architecture, borrowing from the Sāsānian precedent, makes great use of squinch forms (see pendentive). The stalactite work (q.v.), which is so marked a feature of later Islāmic architecture, is, in essence, merely a decorative development of a combination of niche squinch forms. In Gothic architecture squinch arches are frequently used on the insides of square towers to support octagonal spires.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Squinch — (skw[i^]nch), n. [Corrupted fr. sconce.] (Arch.) A small arch thrown across the corner of a square room to support a superimposed mass, as where an octagonal spire or drum rests upon a square tower; called also {sconce}, and {sconcheon}. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • squinch — (v.) 1840, of faces. Related: Squinched; squinching …   Etymology dictionary

  • squinch — squinch1 [skwinch] n. [var. of scunch, contr. < LME scuncheon < OFr escoinson < es (< L ex ) + coin, corner: see COIN] an interior corner support, as a small arch, corbeling, or lintel, supporting a weight, as of a spire, resting upon …   English World dictionary

  • Squinch — A squinch in architecture is a piece of construction used for filling in the upper angles of a square room so as to form a proper base to receive an octagonal or spherical dome. It was the primitive solution of this problem, the perfected one… …   Wikipedia

  • squinch — I [[t]skwɪntʃ[/t]] n. archit. a small arch, corbeling, etc., built across the interior angle between two walls, as in a square tower for supporting a superimposed octagonal spire • Etymology: 1490–1500; var. of scunch, short for scuncheon < MF …   From formal English to slang

  • squinch — I. verb Etymology: probably blend of squint and pinch Date: 1835 transitive verb 1. to screw up (the eyes or face) ; squint 2. a. to make more compact b. to cause to crouch down or draw together …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • squinch — 1. noun A structure constructed between two adjacent walls to aid in the transition from a polygonal to a circular structure; as when a dome is constructed on top of a square room. 2 …   Wiktionary

  • squinch — (Roget s Thesaurus II) verb To peer with the eyes partly closed: squint. Idiom: screw up one s eyes. See SEE …   English dictionary for students

  • Squinch —    An architectural device used, like the pendentive (q.v.), to place a dome (q.v.) on a square bay. It consists of a small arch, or a corbeled, half conical niche, placed across the corners of a square bay. The result is an octagonal base,… …   Historical dictionary of Byzantium

  • squinch — v. crouch down; squint, squeeze, tense up the muscles of the eyes; flinch, draw back, show fear …   English contemporary dictionary