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 "butterfly" 1: a usually large tent with a peaked or rounded top 2: a lightly constructed building serving as a shelter in a park, garden, or athletic field 3: a part of a building that extends from the main part 4: a building partly or completely detached from the main building or group of buildings Word 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. [pavilion illustration]