AskDefine | Define volute

Dictionary Definition

volute adj : in the shape of a coil [syn: coiling, helical, spiral, spiraling, voluted, whorled, turbinate]


1 ornament consisting of a curve on a plane that winds around a center with an increasing distance from the center [syn: spiral]
2 a structure consisting of something wound in a continuous series of loops; "a coil of rope" [syn: coil, spiral, whorl, helix]

User Contributed Dictionary



Via French and Italian from Latin volvere


  1. The spiral curve on an Ionic capital.
  2. The spirls or whorls on a gastropod's shell.
  3. Any marine gastropod of the (super)family Volutidae.




Extensive Definition

A volute is a spiral scroll-like ornament that forms the basis of the Ionic order, found in the capital of the Ionic column. It was later incorporated into Corinthian order and Composite column capitals. Four are normally to be found on an Ionic capital, eight on Composite capitals and smaller versions (sometimes called helix) on the Corinthian capital.
The word derives from the Latin voluta ("scroll"). It has been suggested that the ornament was inspired by the curve of a ram's horns, or perhaps was derived from the natural spiral of the ovule of a common species of clover native to Greece. Alternatively, it may simply be of geometrical origins.
The ornament is used as an element of Renaissance and Baroque architecture and is a common decoration in furniture design, silver and ceramics. A method of drawing the complex geometry was devised by the ancient Roman architect Vitruvius from classical buildings and structures.


volute in German: Volute
volute in Spanish: Roleo
volute in French: Volute
volute in Italian: Voluta
volute in Hebrew: וולוטה
volute in Latvian: Volūta
volute in Hungarian: Voluta
volute in Dutch: Voluut
volute in Polish: Woluta
volute in Portuguese: Voluta
volute in Russian: Волюта
volute in Finnish: Voluutta
volute in Swedish: Volut

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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