One entry found for pavilion
Main Entry: pa·vil·ion
Etymology: Middle English pavillioun
"a large decorated tent," from early French pavillioun
"tent," from Latin papilion-, papilio
a usually large tent with a peaked or rounded top2 :
a lightly constructed building serving as a shelter in a park, garden, or athletic field3 :
a part of a building that extends from the main part4 :
a building partly or completely detached from the main building or group of buildingsWord History
The Latin word papilio
meant "butterfly." In a later stage of Latin, papilio
also came to be used to mean "a tent." Probably this happened because the top of a colorful tent looked like the spread wings of a butterfly. This meaning of the word was borrowed into early French as pavillioun
. Later still, the French word came into English and is now spelled pavilion.
Over the years pavilion
has acquired additional meanings in English, all having to do with a building of some kind. But a tent that is large and richly decorated -- as colorful as a butterfly -- is still sometimes called a pavilion.