In architecture a corbel or console is a structural piece of stone, wood or metal sticking out from a wall to carry a superincumbent weight. It is a type of bracket. A corbel is a solid piece of material in the wall. A console, by comparison, is a piece applied to the structure. A piece of structural wood projecting in the same way was called a "tassel" or a "bragger" in the UK. The technique of corbelling, where rows of corbels support a projecting wall or parapet, has been used since Neolithic, or New Stone Age, times.
The word "corbel" comes from Old French and derives from the Latin corbellus, a diminutive of corvus (a raven) which refers to the beak-like appearance. Similarly, the French refer to a bracket-corbel, usually a load-bearing internal feature, as a corbeau (a crow).
- Oxford English Dictionary Second Edition on CD-ROM (v. 4.0). Oxford University Press, 2009
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). . Encyclopædia Britannica (Eleventh ed.). Cambridge University Press. Cite has empty unknown parameter:
- Oxford English Dictionary gives a similar etymology but from Latin corvellum or corvellus
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