several abutments


First attested in 1644; engineering sense first attested in 1793. From Old French aboutement.[1] Equivalent to abut +‎ -ment.



abutment (countable and uncountable, plural abutments)

  1. The point of junction between two things, in particular a support, that abuts. [First attested in the mid 17th century.][1]
  2. (engineering, architecture) The solid portion of a structure that supports the lateral pressure of an arch or vault. [First attested in the mid 18th century.][1]
  3. (engineering) A construction that supports the ends of a bridge; a structure that anchors the cables on a suspension bridge. [First attested in the mid 18th century.][1]
    • 1959 May, “Talking of Trains: Bethnal Green alterations”, in Trains Illustrated, page 236:
      Each of the bridges consists of six separate girder spans on brick abutments.
  4. (meteorology) The part of a valley or canyon wall against which a dam is constructed.
    Heavy rains have caused the dam's abutments to seep, raising concern over possible dam failure.
  5. Something that abuts, or on which something abuts. [First attested in the mid 18th century.][1]
  6. The state of abutting.
  7. (architecture) That element that shares a common boundary or surface with its neighbor.
  8. (dentistry) The tooth that supports a denture or bridge.
  9. A fixed point or surface where resistance is obtained.
    The fulcrum acted as an abutment.



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Lesley Brown, editor-in-chief; William R. Trumble and Angus Stevenson, editors (2002), “abutment”, in The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles, 5th edition, Oxford; New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press, →ISBN, page 11.