Skip to main content

A Gothic Glossary

May 2024
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 magazine of trusted historical writing, now in its 75th year, and the volunteers that sustain it with a donation to American Heritage.