a. One of the upright, usually rounded or vase-shaped supports of a balustrade.
b. An upright support, such as a furniture leg, having a similar shape.
2. One of the supporting posts of a handrail.
[French balustre, from Italian balaustro, from balaustra, pomegranate flower (from a resemblance to the post), from Latin balaustium, from Greek balaustion, probably from a Semitic source akin to Syriac blaṣ, to bud, flower, and perhaps to Tigrinya bäläṣä, to be superior.]
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Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.