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Architecture Glossaries: Explaining Terms, Understanding Vocabulary

Glossaries for architecture, design, construction, and more

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I. Architecture Words A-Z
Use this alphabetical dictionary to find definitions and pictures for words related to architecture and building design. Did we leave out an important definition? Suggest a Word.

EASY TO USE: Select a letter to go to a page that lists words beginning with that letter.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U-V

II. More Definitions
Learn the specialized vocabulary for architecture, interior decorating, construction, and related fields. Each of the ten glossaries listed below has word meanings to help you with building and design projects.

1. Architecture Acronymns

Blueprint and Ruler and Compass
Photo © Robert George Young / Getty Images

Check the business card of any architect or design pro and you'll see an acronym (a string of letters) such as AIA or RA. What do the letters stand for? Find answers in this glossary of architecture acronymns.

2. Architecture Picture Dictionaries

Capital of a Composite Column
Capital of a Composite Column. 18th century French engraving
Architecture is a visual art. These Picture Dictionaries provide illustrated definitions for complex ideas like Deconstructivism and Classical Orders. Included are picture dictionaries for Historic Periods and Styles, Modern Architecture, Column Styles & Types, Roof Styles, House Styles, Colonial Styles, and Victorian Styles.

3. Electrical Glossary

Hanging Lamp by Frank Lloyd Wright at the Dana House
Hanging Lamp at the Dana House courtesy Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, permission of Portland Museum
Understanding wiring and electricity begins with learning the complicated vocabulary. This glossary of electrical terms includes the basics such as Buss Bar, GFCI, Romex, and more.

4. Feng Shui Glossary

Bagua Diagram
Bagua Diagram courtesy Stanley Bartlett
From BAGUA to Space Clearing, this glossary has definitions for words related to the ancient Asian art of Feng Shui, including Feng Shui theories and Feng Shui cures.

5. Furniture Glossary

The Barrel Chair by Frank Lloyd Wright
The Barrel Chair by Frank Lloyd Wright. Photo courtesy of ModernClassics.com
Do words like Bergere, Burl, and Chinoiserie leave you stumped? This glossary of furniture terms has answers.

6. Garage & Storage Glossary

Barn converted into a garage, Madbury, New Hampshire
Barn converted into a garage, Madbury, New Hampshire. Photo ©Tony Fallon Architecture

The words in this glossary are often used when designing and building garages and storage spaces. Included: Drywall, joist, beam, and stud.

7. Home Repair & Tool Glossary

Young female apprentice working on a construction site.
Photo © Lisa F. Young / iStockphoto.com

What's a BTU? What's a Zip Tool? Find meanings for terms and phrases related to construction and home repair.

8. Housewares & Appliances Glossary

Kitchen at the Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway in Palm Springs, California
Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway in Palm Springs, California. Photo © Jackie Craven
Find the words you need to know to evaluate and choose appliances, kitchenware, cutlery, cookware, and other housewares. Included: Anodized, CADR, Encapsulated, HEPA, and more.

9. Interior Design Glossary

The Zimmerman House by Frank Lloyd Wright
The Zimmerman House by Frank Lloyd Wright. Photo by J. David Bohl, Courtesy Currier Museum of Art

The vocabulary of design includes specialized words for furnishings, fabrics, paints, and decorative details. In this glossary you'll find definitions for Ceiling Medallion, Finial, MDF, Polyurethane, and more.

10. Pool & Patio Glossary

Frey House II. 1963. Albert Frey, architect.
Frey House II by Albert Frey. Photo courtesy Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism
Here are the words you need to know when designing a pool, patio, deck, or terrace. Included: Espalier, Pergola, Oxidant, and more.

Reader Submissions: Architecture and Construction Words

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