adobe


adobe
/euh doh"bee/, n.
1. sun-dried brick made of clay and straw, in common use in countries having little rainfall.
2. a yellow silt or clay, deposited by rivers, used to make bricks.
3. a building constructed of adobe.
4. a dark, heavy soil, containing clay.
[1750-60; Amer.; < Sp < Ar al-tub the brick < Coptic to:o:be brick < Egyptian Demotic tb < Egyptian Hieroglyphic dbt]

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Handmade sun-dried bricks formed from a mixture of heavy clay and straw found in arid regions.

As a building material, adobe dates back thousands of years and is found in many parts of the world. Molds for shaping the bricks were brought to the New World by the Spanish. Excellent insulating properties make adobe an ideal material for both dwellings and ovens; home interiors retain heat in winter and stay cool in summer. The adobe buildings at Taos, N.M., are typical of Native American pueblo dwellings.

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 a heavy clay soil used to make sun-dried bricks. The term, Spanish-Moorish in origin, also denotes the bricks themselves.

      Adobe is a mixture of clay, sand, and silt with good plastic qualities that will dry to a hard uniform mass. In areas with arid or semiarid climates, adobe construction dates back several millennia. This use of earth for building construction resulted partly from the scarcity of wood as a building medium, partly from the ease of such construction, and partly from its insulation value against both heat and cold. Adobe or sun-dried bricks are found in the Old World in the dry areas east of the Mediterranean Sea, in North Africa, and in southern Spain. In the Western Hemisphere adobe appears in many of the pre-Columbian sites from the American Southwest to Peru, always, again, in those regions with a dry climate. The American Indians (American Indian) built walls by hand manipulation of the plastic clay into courses, allowing each course to dry before adding the next. In the 20th century, adobe also became a fashionable construction material in the American Southwest.

      Water and small amounts of straw or other fibrous material are mixed with a clay soil, which is then shaped into bricks in simple molds. Depending on intended use, the bricks range from 8 to 13 cm (3 to 5 inches) thick, 25 to 30 cm wide, and 35 to 50 cm long. Before they can be used, the bricks must be “air” cured, which usually takes at least two weeks in arid climates. The addition of fibre is solely to prevent the bricks from cracking during the curing process.

      Adobe walls are normally built on a solid, waterproof foundation of stone or concrete; otherwise the capillary action of groundwater may cause the lower courses to disintegrate. The bricks are laid in a mortar of the same material, then finished with a coat of adobe or with lime or cement plaster. With proper construction and maintenance, an adobe wall may last centuries.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • adobe — (n.) 1739, American English, from Sp. adobe, from oral form of Arabic al tob the brick, from Coptic tube brick, a word found in hieroglyphics …   Etymology dictionary

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