lintel

lintel, in architecture, the horizontal member that spans an opening, such as a door or window, or that connects two columns. The post-and-lintel, or trabeated, system of construction, with spans limited to the length of available wood or stone beams, is the basis of the Egyptian and Greek styles of architecture, as contrasted with the later arched and vaulted, or arcuated, styles.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

More on lintel from Fact Monster:

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Architecture