When did we start to call architecture architecture?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The etymology of "architecture" is as follows. The word architecture is first recorded in writing between 1555-1565. It came into Early Modern English (ca 1500 - ca 1700) as a loan word from Middle French "architectura."

Architect, from architectura, used as a verb means to plan or to structure or to organize, as in "The novel was well architected" and "Brainstreet was the architect of the new ecology policy" or "The building is well architected."

The Middle French architectura itself was a loanword from Latin architectus, which was derived from Greek architekton, which is equivalent to the Greek combining form archi- plus the Greek noun tekton. The combining form archi- is attached to nouns and has the general sense of "first or principal."

The Greek noun tekton means builder or craftsman. When archi- is combined with tekton it denotes someone who has authority over others of their own class, as in authority over many craftsmen, such as an architect.

The suffix -ure is used on abstract nouns (nouns that are not concrete like cow or bell or tower) to form nouns of action, result, or instrumentation. It is used on loanwords from French or Latin. So architecture is an abstract noun describing the result of the action of the principal crafts-person, the architect.