Skip to main content

A Gothic Glossary

March 2023
1min read

Trabeated construction

Built with vertical elements (post, columns, etc.) and horizontal ones (beams, lintels, entablatures, etc.). Typical of classical architecture, as opposed to …

Arcuated construction

Built with arches (curved structures supporting the mass of a building or surrounding the doorways and windows), of which there are two main types …

Segmental arch

An arch that (if imaginarily extended) forms a circle or an ellipse. Typical of classical, especially Roman, architecture.

Gothic or “pointed” arch

An arch composed of two curved members that meet at its apex. (If arches are placed in parallel succession, they form a vault. If the arches are at right or acute angles, sharing a common apex, they form a groined vault. The arch, vault, and groined vault allowed Gothic cathedrals to reach imposing and previously unattainable heights.)

Board-and-batten siding

A house covering of vertical boards, the seams of which are covered by smaller strips of wood (battens).

Vergeboard or bargeboard (synonymous)

Decorative woodwork suspended under a house’s eaves.


Decorative device at the peak of a gable, typically the highest element of a Gothic structure.


Decorative device placed at the angle of a roof, gable, or cornice.

Bay window

Window or series of windows projecting outward from a wall of a building, extending to the ground, typically polygonal in form.


A bay window not extending to the ground.

Trefoil, quatrefoil, or cinquefoil window

A rosette window with three, four, or five lobes or sections.

Hood or label molding (synonymous)

A molding that projects from the surface surrounding a doorway or window.

We hope you enjoy our work.

Please support this 72-year tradition of trusted historical writing and the volunteers that sustain it with a donation to American Heritage.


Stories published from "November 1989"

Authored by: Ken Heyman

Occupational tintypes are about as cheap today as when they were made, but they offer a valuable look at working-class America during and just after the Civil War

Authored by: Roger J. Spiller

Walt Whitman said, “The real war will never get in the books.” The critic and writer Paul Fussell feels that the same sanitizing of history that went on after the 1860s has erased the national memory of what World War II was really like.

Authored by: Alexander O. Boulton

The medieval look that swept America a hundred and fifty years ago wasn’t just a matter of nostalgia for pointed archways and crenellated towers; it was also the very model of a modern architectural style

Authored by: The Editors

A Dictionary of Quotations Requested from the Congressional Research Service

Authored by: The Editors

A Life of Wilbur and Orville Wright

Authored by: The Editors

The History of Animation

Authored by: The Editors

Recollections by Men and Women of World War II Aviation

Authored by: The Editors

Brick Wall Signs in America

Authored by: Bruce Curtis

A year ago we were in the midst of a presidential campaign most memorable for charges by both sides that the opponent was not hard enough, tough enough, masculine enough. That he was, in fact, a sissy. Both sides also admitted this sort of rhetoric was deplorable. But it’s been going on since the beginning of the Republic.

Authored by: Richard M. Ketchum

The bombs that fell that Sunday didn’t just knock out some battleships; they roused America into a new age. Here is how the long, unforgettable day unfolded.

Featured Articles

The world’s most prominent actress risked her career by standing up to one of Hollywood’s mega-studios, proving that behind the beauty was also a very savvy businesswoman. 

Rarely has the full story been told about how a famed botanist, a pioneering female journalist, and First Lady Helen Taft battled reluctant bureaucrats to bring Japanese cherry trees to Washington. 

Often thought to have been a weak president, Carter was strong-willed in doing what he thought was right, regardless of expediency or the political fallout.

Why have thousands of U.S. banks failed over the years? The answers are in our history and politics.

In his Second Inaugural Address, Abraham Lincoln embodied leading in a time of polarization, political disagreement, and differing understandings of reality.