in architecture, "the triangular part of the facade of a Greek-style building," 1660s, alteration of periment, peremint (1590s), a word of unknown origin, "said to be a workmen's term" [OED]; probably a dialectal garbling of pyramid, the connection perhaps being the triangular shape. Sometimes associated with ped- "foot." Other possibilities include Latin pedamentum "vine-stalk, prop," and Italian pedamento, which at the time this word entered English meant "foundation, basework, footing." Meaning "base, foundation" is from 1726, by influence of Latin pedem "foot."
updated on March 11, 2020