Groin - Encyclopedia

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GROIN. (I) An obsolete word for the grunting of swine, from Lat. grunnire, and so applied to the snout of a pig; it is probably the origin of the word, more commonly spelled "groyne," for a small timber framework or wall of masonry used on sea coasts as a breakwater to prevent the encroachment of sand and shingle. (2) (Of uncertain origin; from an older form grynde or grinde; the derivation from "grain," an obsolete word meaning "fork," cannot, according to the New English Dictionary, be accepted), in anatomy the folds or grooves formed between the lower part of the abdomen and the thighs, covering the inguinal glands, and so applied in architecture to the angle or "arris" formed by the intersection of two vaults crossing one another, occasionally called by workmen "groin point." If the vaults are both of the same radius and height, their intersections lie in a vertical plane, in other cases they form winding curves for which it is difficult to provide centering. In early medieval vaulting this was sometimes arranged by a slight alteration in the geometrical curve of the vault, but the problem was not satisfactorily solved until the introduction of the rib which henceforth ruled the vaulting surface of the web or cell (see VAULT). The name "Welsh groin" or "underpitch" is generally given to the vaulting surface or web where the main longitudinal vault is higher than the cross or transverse vaults; as the transverse rib (of much greater radius than that of the wall rib), projected diagonally in front of the latter, the filling-in or web has to be carried back from the transverse to the wall rib. The term "groin centering" is used where, in groining without ribs, the whole surface is supported by centering during the erection of the vaulting. In ribbed work the stone ribs only are supported by timber ribs during the progress of the work, any light stuff being used while filling in the spandrils. (See VAULT.)

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