Architectural and Engineering Glossary


A local tufa stone used for building construction in ancient Rome.

Capilla Abierta

A Hispanic open chapel,usually adjacent to a church.

Capilla Major

1.The principal chapel in Spanish churches.2.The area directly around the high altar of a church.

Capillary Action, Capillarity

1.The movement of a liquid in the interstices of soil or other porous material,as a result of surface tension.2. The phenomenon responsible for dry soil sucking up moisture above the ground water level.Also see capillary flow.

Capillary Break

A space between two surfaces which is purposely made wide enough to prevent the movement of moisture through the space by capillary action.

Capillary Flow

The flow of moisture through a capillary pore system,as in concrete.

Capillary Groove

A groove formed between two building components to prevent capillary action between them.

Capillary Joint

Same as sweat joint.

Capillary Migration

See capillary flow.

Capillary Space

In cement paste,any space not occupied by anhydrous cement or cement gel.Air bubbles, whether entrained or entrapped,are not considered to be part of the cement paste.

Capillary Tube

A tube of small internal diameter;used in refrigeration as a control for the flow of liquid refrigerant,or as an expansion device between the condenser and evaporator;or used to transmit pressure from the sensitive bulb of a temperature control to the operating element.

Capillary Water

Water,above the water table,held there by capillary action.


The topmost structural member of a column,pilaster,anta,or the like, often decorated; may support an architrave,1 or may be surmounted by an impost. See  illustrations  under the various orders;also see angle capital,basket capital,bracket capital,bud capital, Byzantine capital (illustrated under Byzantine

Capping In

The application of roofing felt to a roof deck.

Capping Piece, Cap Piece, Cap Plate

A piece of timber covering the heads of a series of uprights or other vertical structure.

Capping Plane

A plane used for rounding the upper surface of wooden railings.

Chicken House

See poultry house.

Column Baseplate

A horizontal plate beneath the bottom of a column;transmits and distributes the column load to the supporting material below the plate.

Column Cage

An assembly of reinforcing bars and ties for use in constructing a reinforced concrete column.

Column Capital

A mushroom-like enlargement of reinforced concrete,at the upper end of a column,designed and built to act as an integral unit with the column and the floor slab above so as to increase the shearing resistance.

Column Casing

Any form of enclosure of a steel column which provides a prescribed fire rating,e.g.a boxed enclosure fabricated of a fire rated material,such as gypsum board;also see caged beam.

Column Clamp

A fastening device for a form for a concrete column,holding together the sides of the form.

Column Curve

The graphical relationship between the axial strength of a column and its slenderness ratio.

Column Footing

See footing.

Column Head

Same as column capital.

Column Side

In a form for a concrete column,one of the vertical panels.

Column Splice

A splice which unites two columns.

Column Strip

That portion of a flat slab,over  the columns,which consists of the  quarter panels on both sides of the column center line.

Columna Rostrata

Same as rostral column. 

Columna Triumphalis

See triumphal column.


Systems of grouping columns in classical architecture.Also see intercolumniation. 


In a Greek church,the room or font for administering baptism.


Abbr. for “customer’s own material.”

Com, Com.

In the lumber industry,abbr. for “common.”

Comb Board

A saddle board having notches along its upper edge.

Comb Ceiling

A ceiling that sags inwardly like a tent.Also called a camp ceiling or tent ceiling.

Comb Cut

Same as plumb cut.


See edge-grained,quartersawn.


On drawings,abbr. for “combination.”


Same as dragged.

Combed Joint

A finger joint.

Combed-finish Tile

Tile whose face surfaces are altered by more or less parallel scratches in manufacture to give increased bond for mortar,plaster,or stucco.