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pediment, in architecture, the triangular gable end on a building of classic type or a similar form used decoratively. It consists of the tympanum, or triangular wall surface, enclosed below by the horizontal cornice and above by the raking cornice, which follows the slope of the roof. In Greek architecture the pediment usually contained sculpture when used with the Doric order. In the Roman and Renaissance styles it was used also as a purely decorative motif, chiefly over doors and windows; the upper profile of the pediment was sometimes of segmental shape. In later Renaissance and baroque design the pediment often took on fantastic shapes, notably in the variants of the broken pediment, in which the two sides of the raking cornice do not join. The scrolled broken pediment was a favorite in American Colonial work, especially in doorways and over mantels.
swan’s neck pediment
a submontane inclined plain underlain by bedrock that is mantled with a thin layer of loose deposits. Pediments form mostly in arid and semiarid regions as a result of surface erosion, the action of running water, and the parallel retreat of steep slopes.
an ornamental architectural element. Pediments are cornice-like ledges, sometimes supported by brackets, found over windows or doors on the facade of a building or, less frequently, in the interior.
in geomorphology, a zone of unconsolidated deposits formed at the foot of an elevated region by the merging of alluvial fans. The pediment consists of detrital material carried down by rivers, ephemeral streams, and sheetwash or transported by the force of gravity. Depending on the predominant process of transport, various types of pediments are distinguished: alluvial-proluvial, diluvial-proluvial, and diluvial. Pediments sometimes reach a width of 20–25 km, for example, on the southern slope of the Dzungarian Alatau.