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A cupola atop Cardiff's city hall
Basic cupola furnace


Borrowed from Italian cupola, from Latin cūpula (little tub); from Latin cūpa, cuppa (cup); named for its resemblance to a cup turned over.



cupola (plural cupolas or cupolae)

  1. (architecture) A dome-shaped ornamental structure located on top of a larger roof or dome.
    • 1886, Robert Louis Stephenson, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde:
      the light falling dimly through the foggy cupola.
    • 2012, Andrew Martin, Underground Overground: A passenger's history of the Tube, Profile Books, →ISBN, page 101:
      The stations on the City & South London were small but pretty, with cupolas to accommodate the winding gear of the small and claustrophobic hydraulic lifts.
  2. (military) A small turret, usually on a hatch of an armoured fighting vehicle.
  3. (geology) An upward-projecting mass of plutonic rock extending from a larger batholith.
  4. (geometry) A solid formed by joining two polygons, one (the base) with twice as many edges as the other, by an alternating band of isosceles triangles and rectangles.
  5. A type of furnace used for smelting.
    • 2008, Matthew Stein, When Technology Fails, →ISBN:
      The cupola has a small cylindrical chimney-like bore that is lined with a refractory material.
    • 2009, S.K. Garg, Comprehensive Workshop Technology, →ISBN, page 260:
      Cast iron produced in a cupola possesses the following advantages : The cost of melting is low. The control of chemical composition is better. Temperature control is easier. Molten metals can be tapped from the cupola at regular intervals.
  6. (anatomy) A small cap over a structure that is shaped like a dome or inverted cup.
    the posterior cupola of the cartilaginous nasal capsule
    • 1937, Sir Gavin De Beer, The Development of the Vertebrate Skull, page 180:
      From each anterior cupola there projects forwards the processus prenasalis lateralis inferior.
    • 2015, Charles E. Smith, Trauma Anesthesia, →ISBN, page 85:
      The cupola of the lung is mostly medial and posterior to the vein as it begins to course deeper into the thorax (Fig. 5.7).

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From Latin cupula.


cupola f (plural cupole)

  1. dome, vault
  2. cupola