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Sebastian's Technical Glossaries:

Building & general construction technology dictionary:
technology, architecture, civil, structural, forensic, mechanical, pavement and materials engineering, roofing, and masonry
with elements of testing and quality science

on-line mostly American English/French/Romanian

By A. Sebastian

© 1995 - 2050 A. Sebastian. All rights reserved.

Hosted by A. Sebastian Engineering & Investigation Services

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ASEIS also offers a Construction durability glossary
and a Building pathology glossary

First and foremost, this is a construction dictionary with English explanations. Given the difficulty that faces the Romance language speaker to relate to technical English (and the other way around), whenever possible, the corresponding equivalents are given (where genus choices are possible, only the masculine is shown). Some reference standards are also indicated. If you have a better translation, please e-mail it to us for consideration / inclusion / credit.

Items currently in the works may show in italics.


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C concrete/mortar/grout
Ch chemistry
P paints/coatings
M masonry
R roofing
T testing
Th technology
Tr transportation/pavement engineering
W wood, timber [v] verb
[n] noun

A B C D to L M to Z


Background Noise -T The total noise floor from all sources of interference in a measurement system, independent of the presence of a data signal

balcony (R terasa, balcon) Platform that projects (usually outwards) from the wall of a building and is surrounded by a railing, balustrade, or parapet.

Basement (F le soubassement, R subsol)

Bathtub (F la baignoire, R cada, ~ de baie) ...

  1. toy duck, rubber duck (F le canard de caoutchouc, R ratusca de cauciuc)
  2. (Amer., Can) faucet, mixing; (Brit.) tap, mixer(F le robinet melangeur R robinet)
  3. bidet (F le bidet, R bideu)
  4. toilet paper (F le papier hygienique, R hirtie igienica)
  5. toilet, lavatory (F les cabinets, R toaleta, closet, WC, veceu)
  6. toilet bowl (F la cuvette de cabinet, R toaleta)
  7. toilet lid (F l'abattant de cuvette, R capac, ~ de closet, ~ de veceu)
  8. toilet seat (F la lunette, R scaun, ~ de veceu)
  9. (Amer., Can) tank, water ~; (Brit.) cistern (F la chasse d'eau, R tanc)
  10. tile (F le carreau R flisa)
  11. vent, extraction ~ (F la bouche d'aeration, R aerisire)
  12. soap (F le savon R sapun)
  13. towel (F la serviette R prosop)
  14. washbasin (F le lavabo R chiuveta)
  15. overflow (F le trop-plein)
  16. mirror (F le miroir R oglinda)
  17. mirrored bathroom cabinet (F l'armoire de toilette a miroirs R dulapior cu oglinda)
  18. shower (F douche, R dus)
  19. drawer (F le tiroir R sertar)

Bauhaus A very influential German school of design and architecture, the aesthetic of which was influenced by and derived from techniques and materials employed especially in industrial fabrication and manufacture: steel, concrete, chrome, and glass for instance. It was founded in 1919, and closed by the Nazis in 1933, many of its teachers emigrating to the U.S. Walter Gropius (German-American, 1883-1969), Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (German-American, 1886-1969), etc.

Beam (R grinda) heavy main support element made of concrete, steel, or wood and running horizontally between columns or load bearing walls. It may be supported at one, two or more points, but not throughout its length.

  1. cantilever ~ (R consola)
  2. fixed end ~ (R grinda dublu incastrata)
  3. simple ~ (R grinda simplu rezemata)
  4. straight ~ (R grinda dreapta)

Bearing (F porteur, R reazem, suport, baza) The linear or areal dimension over which a higher component transmits load to a lower component

Bedding (F scellement, R baza, pat) A layer, usually of concrete or mortar, for providing continuous support to such items as bricks, slabs, pipes (BS 892, 5385). Var. "to embed" (F sceller)

Blackbody A theoretical object that radiates the maximum amount of energy at a given temperature, and absorbs all the energy incident upon it. A blackbody is not necessarily black. (The name blackbody was chosen because the color black is defined as the total absorption of light energy)

Bleeding (F ressuage) C: The separation of water from an unhardened mix (BS 4049). P: The process of diffusion of a soluble colored substance from, into, and through a paint or varnish coating from beneath, thus producing an undesirable staining or discoloration (BS 2015). Used similarly to refer to the transfer of soluble material from bitumen impregnated roofing materials, in lime-rich water, causing staining of soffits of concrete slab roofs

Blister (F poches d'air, R basica, umflatura) A local separation of a surface layer causing a raised area on the surface with a cavity below, usually happening in flat roofs

Bond (F adhérence, R aderenta) Adherence between materials such as bricks/mortar, or plies of felt, or between felts and other elements of roof systems, which use bitumen or other materials as the cementing agent

Break (R spargere, rupere, incercare a betonului la compresiune)

  1. to come apart or divide into pieces, usually with suddenness and violence
  2. to sever by fracture; to divide with violence; as, to break a rope or chain; to break an axle; to break rocks or coal; to break a lock
  3. to infringe or violate, as an obligation, law, or promise
  4. to interrupt; to destroy the continuity of; to dissolve or terminate; as, to break silence
  5. To shatter to pieces; to reduce to fragments
  6. to weaken or impair

Brick (F brique, R caramida)
A solid masonry unit of clay or shale, formed into a rectangular prism while plastic and burned or fired in a kiln.

  1. solid brick, standard ~ (F la brique pleine calibree, R caramida plina)
  2. brick wall (F le mur de briques, R zid de caramida)
  3. cored brick (F , R caramida cu gauri)
  4. brickwork, masonry (F , R zidarie)
  5. lintel (F le linteau, R )
  6. hollow block wall (F le mur de parpaings creux, le mur d'agglomeres creux; R zidarie)

Bridge (R Punte) Wheatstone bridge configuration utilizing four active strain gages

BTU (Btu, btu) British thermal units; the quantity of thermal energy required to raise one pound of water at its maximum density, 1 degree F. One BTU is equivalent to .293 watt hours, or 252 calories. One kilowatt hour is equivalent to 3412 BTU

Building (F bâtiment, R cladire) [N]

  1. a structure that generally has a roof and walls and stands more or less permanently in one place; "there is a four-story building on the property"; "it is an imposing edifice"
  2. construction, building: the act of constructing or building something; "during the construction they had to take a break"; "his hobby was the building of electric models"
  3. construction, building: the commercial activity involved in constructing buildings; "our business is home construction"; "workers in the building trades"
  4. the art or business of assembling materials into a structure
  5. Edifice erected by art and applied science, and fixed upon the land. Every building is an accessory to the land, and is, therefore, real estate: it belongs to the owner of the land
    A little history: Genesis 11:3 & 9, offers the first recorded instance of the building erection. The cities of the plain of Shinar were founded by the descendants of Shem (10:11, 12, 22).
    Originally the Israelites were shepherds and dwelt in tents (Gen. 47:3); but from the time of their entering Canaan they became town dwellers, and lived in houses built of the native limestone of Palestine. Much building activity was carried on in Solomon's time. Besides the buildings he completed at Jerusalem, he also built Baalath and Tadmor (1 Kings 9:15, 24). Many of the kings of Israel and Judah engaged in erecting various buildings.

    Building Codes Local, regional or national set of conditions and rules defining and regulating minimum conditions for the construction of buildings, including design, materials, site technologies, testing and other related aspects of building.

    Building Envelope (F enveloppe du bâtiment, R elemente de inchidere, invelitoarea cladirii)cladding + roof system

    Building Line or Setback Clearance between the building and the ends and sides of the property beyond which construction may not extend without some modification to the particular zoning. The building line may be established by a filed plat of subdivision, by restrictive covenants in deeds or leases, by building codes, or by zoning ordinances.

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    A. Sebastian: "Essential Construction & Architectural Engineering Dictionary"

    Webster, formerly known as a "Dictionary of the American Language" (whatever that might mean)

    American Heritage Dictionary

    Encarta, a barely passable product from a much less than passable corporation

    Echo-Eurodicatum: although sliding down fast, it is still the power house to beat in web multilingual dictionaries (

    TechDico, Logos (

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