AskDefine | Define cupola

Dictionary Definition



1 a vertical cylindrical furnace for melting iron for casting
2 a roof in the form of a dome

User Contributed Dictionary



From etyl it |little tub, from etyl la.


  1. A dome-shaped ornamental structure located on top of a larger roof or dome.
  2. A small turret, usually on a hatch of an armoured fighting vehicle.


architecture: dome-shaped ornamental structure
military: small turret
  • Dutch: koepel



  1. dome
  2. cupola

Extensive Definition

In architecture, a cupola or lantern is a radially symmetrical ornamental structure (often dome-shaped or quadrilateral) located on top of a larger roof or dome, often used as a lookout or to admit light and provide ventilation. The word comes, through Italian, from the lower Latin cupula (classical Latin cupella from the Greek kupellon) small cup (lat. cupa) indicating a vault resembling an upside down cup.
In some cases, the entire main roof of a tower or spire can form a single cupola. More frequently, however, the cupola comprises a smaller structure which sits on top of the main roof. If the cupola can be reached by climbing a stairway inside the building, it is referred to as a belvedere or widow's walk. Some cupolas, called lanterns, have small windows which illuminate the areas below.
In the Victorian architecture, often seen in older homes of Upstate New York, New Jersey and northern Pennsylvania, especially in the Finger Lakes region, cupolas are often seen as a small room that extends above the main roof line. They may be square, rectangular, octagonal or round. In local folklore, they are regarded as Indian lookouts, but they may have also been created simply to offer a scenic view, which fits with the other name, belvedere, an Italian term denoting a fair view.
The term cupola is also often used for a projection above the roof of a barn, which is primarily there for ventilation purposes.

External links

cupola in Catalan: Llanternó
cupola in Spanish: Linterna (arquitectura)
cupola in Italian: Lanterna (architettura)

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

antenna tower, apse, arcade, arcature, arch, arched roof, archway, barbican, belfry, bell tower, camber, campanile, ceilinged roof, colossus, column, concameration, concha, cove, derrick, dome, fire tower, geodesic dome, igloo, keystone, lantern, lighthouse, martello, martello tower, mast, minaret, monument, obelisk, observation tower, ogive, pagoda, pilaster, pillar, pinnacle, pole, pylon, pyramid, shaft, skewback, skyscraper, span, spire, standpipe, steeple, stupa, television mast, tope, tour, tower, turret, vault, vaulting, voussoir, water tower, windmill tower
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