General English


  • Any temporary, elevated platform and its supporting structure used for supporting workmen and/or materials.


  • noun a raised platform on which executions take place

Real Estate

  • noun a temporary framework of poles and planks that is used to support workers and materials during the erection, repair or decoration of a building

Origin & History of “scaffold”

Historically, scaffold and catafalque (17th c.) ‘coffin-stand’ are virtually the same word. Catafalque comes via French catafalque and Italian catafalco from vulgar Latin *catafalcum, a word of uncertain origin. Combination with the prefix ex- produced *excatafalcum, which passed into English via Old French eschaffaut and Anglo-Norman *scaffaut. The word originally denoted any sort of platform, and did not narrow down to ‘platform for executions’ until the 16th century. The derivative scaffolding, a term which originally alluded to the platforms set up around a building rather than to poles supporting them, also dates from the 14th century.