oriel ôr´ēəl [key], projecting or bay window in an upper story, supported on brackets, corbels, or an engaged column, usually polygonal or curved in plan. It is most characteristic of the late medieval and early Renaissance period in England, where it was a favorite feature in civic and domestic buildings, but it is also found in France and Germany during the same period. The term is often loosely but incorrectly applied to any bay window.
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