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Dictionary Meaning and Definition on 'Gargoyle'

Gargoyle Meaning and Definition from WordNet (r) 2.0
    gargoyle n
  1. a spout that terminates in a grotesquely carved figure of a person or animal
  2. an ornament consisting of a grotesquely carved figure of a person or animal
Gargoyle Meaning and Definition from Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
    Gargoyle \Gar"goyle\, n. [OE. garguilie, gargouille, cf. Sp. g['a]rgola, prob. fr. the same source as F. gorge throat, influenced by L. gargarizare to gargle. See Gorge and cf. Gargle, Gargarize.] (Arch.) A spout projecting from the roof gutter of a building, often carved grotesquely. [Written also gargle, gargyle, and gurgoyle.]
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Wikipedia Meaning and Definition on 'Gargoyle'

In architecture, a gargoyle is a carved stone grotesque with a spout designed to convey water from a roof and away from the side of a building. Preventing rainwater from running down masonry walls is important because running water erodes the mortar between the stone blocks. Architects often used multiple gargoyles on buildings to divide the flow of rainwater off the roof to minimize the potential damage from a rainstorm. A trough is cut in the back of the gargoyle and rainwater typically exits through the open mouth. Gargoyles are usually an elongated fantastic animal because the length of the gargoyle determines how far water is thrown from the wall. When Gothic flying buttresses were used, aqueducts were sometimes cut into the buttress to divert water over the aisle walls.

The term originates from the French gargouille, originally "throat" or "gullet"; The Italian word for gargoyle is doccione o gronda sporgente, an architecturally precise phrase which means "protruding gutter." The German word for gargoyle is Wasserspeier, which means "water spewer." The Dutch word for gargoyle is waterspuwer, which means "water spitter" or "water vomiter." A building that has gargoyles on it is "gargoyled."

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