terrace

Definitions

General English

Agriculture

  • noun a flat strip of land across a sloping hillside, lying level along the contours

Construction

  • An embankment with a level top surface and stabilized side slopes. It may be used for agriculture or paved and/or planted for recreational use.
  • A platform or paved embankment adjoining a building and used for recreational purposes.

Military

  • noun one of a series of level areas constructed on the side of a hill, in order to cultivate crops

Real Estate

  • noun a long row of houses built together in the same style, separated only by shared dividing side walls
  • noun a row of houses facing down from a raised position on or along the top of a piece of sloping ground, or built on a raised bank of ground

Origin & History of “terrace”

Terrace is one of a small family of English words that go back ultimately to Latin terra ‘earth, land’. this was probably descended from Indo-European *tersā- ‘dry’ (source also of English thirst, torrid, etc), in which case it denoted etymologically ‘dry land’, as opposed to ‘sea’. The family also includes inter (14th c.) (etymologically ‘put into the earth’), terra cotta (18th c.) (from Italian, literally ‘cooked earth’), terra firma (17th c.) (literally ‘firm land’), terrain (18th c.), terrestrial (15th c.), terrier (15th c.) (etymologically a dog which is sent down burrows in the ‘earth’ after its quarry), terrine, territory (15th c.), and tureen. Terrace itself came via Old French terrace from the vulgar Latin derivative *terrāceus, which denoted a ‘platform made from a pile of earth or rubble’.
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