I would like to say that someone is standing at the end of a bridge, waiting to meet someone else.

Is there a word for the end of the bridge, besides just 'end'?

I'm thinking something like a river's mouth.

  • 1
    According to several glossaries of bridge building terms, for a truss bridge at least, the "end" is called the portal: the clear unobstructed space of a through truss bridge forming the entrance to the structure. I googled [anatomy of a bridge] and according to some diagrams, the roadways leading up to the portal are known as the approaches. If I find something more satisfactory than this, I'll post it as an answer.
    – Dan Bron
    Jun 8, 2015 at 21:28
  • 2
    We always called the close end "the foot" and the far end "the head" - I don't know why... I suppose it could be the other way 'round...
    – Oldbag
    Jun 8, 2015 at 21:32
  • 2
    @Oldbag Because the foot is by your feet, obviously ;)
    – Dan Bron
    Jun 8, 2015 at 21:34
  • 4
    @pazzo: Head is not an obscure technical term, it is a common word for the end of a bridge.
    – ermanen
    Jun 9, 2015 at 0:57
  • 3
    A pier is a disappointed bridge. James Joyce.
    – Fattie
    Jun 9, 2015 at 4:40

3 Answers 3


It is called a head.

Either end of a bridge. [OED]

It is usually used as head of the bridge.

Another similar term is a bridgehead, which is mainly used as a military term, defined in OED as a fortification covering or protecting the end of a bridge nearest the enemy. [Translation of French tête de pont : tête, head + de, of + pont, bridge.]

AHD also gives another definition of bridgehead:

The area immediately adjacent to the end of a bridge.

  • 2
    Nice find, man!
    – Dan Bron
    Jun 9, 2015 at 0:20
  • 1
    @DanBron: Thanks. "Head" is the natural way to say it but there can be technical terms like "portal" as you said. However, "portal" applies to covered bridges (like entering through a portal) and it can define the space between those supporters in technical contexts.
    – ermanen
    Jun 9, 2015 at 0:30
  • totally awesome, you rock!
    – Fattie
    Jun 9, 2015 at 4:39

transpontine = far side of the bridge

transpontine adjective:

situated on the farther side of a bridge

(Merriam Webster)

  • 3
    Do you have a dictionary reference for this? Etymologically it sounds plausible, but I've never heard it actually used to refer to the end of a bridge.
    – Mitch
    Feb 19, 2017 at 17:06
  • Dictionary definition makes it sound like it's chiefly British. Does this actually get used?
    – DCShannon
    Feb 21, 2017 at 16:44

Abutment comes to mind. From Wikipedia:

In engineering, abutment refers to the substructure at the ends of a bridge span or dam whereon the structure's superstructure rests or contacts. Single-span bridges have abutments at each end which provide vertical and lateral support for the bridge, as well as acting as retaining walls to resist lateral movement of the earthen fill of the bridge approach.

  • It's true that abutments are at the ends of bridges, but they're supporting the bridge. It's not where a person would stand, so it's not quite right.
    – DCShannon
    Jun 9, 2015 at 17:30

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