Here is a sample picture:


Do we call this a cantilevered roof? Or is there a more apt description?

  • 3
    It is a cantilevered roof, and that's OK for an engineer but hardly a punter-friendly description. What are the circumstances you want to use the term?
    – Andrew Leach
    Feb 1, 2021 at 17:12
  • 4
    It is sometimes called a canopy, but it is not always cantilevered (it can be supported by brackets or poles). Feb 1, 2021 at 17:20
  • 1
    In response to Andrew, the context is a story that I'm working on. I had come across the term 'cantilevered roof' online, but wasn't sure if it was appropriate for a general audience, or if, strictly speaking, it would only be understood by architects and engineers. Feb 1, 2021 at 17:44
  • 2
    @CluelessKid Your elucidations should go into the question, which needs to stand alone without the need for comments (especially comments on an answer).
    – Andrew Leach
    Feb 1, 2021 at 20:19
  • In a story, there wouldn't be any expectation to be told whether the roof was supported or cantilevered. There would be an expectation of location, function, and perhaps style and size. Cantilevered would be widely understood, but would likely be regarded as a curious detail if you weren't devoting a couple paragraphs to describing the thing.
    – Phil Sweet
    Feb 2, 2021 at 2:32

5 Answers 5


A more generic word for that would be overhang, defined by Merriam-Webster as 'a projection of the roof or upper story of a building beyond the wall of the lower part'

  • I should add that the description of this roof is not destined for a technical text, but rather sets the scene for a story that I'm working on. I had stumbled across the word "cantilevered roof," but wasn't sure whether readers would automatically associate that term with the type of building in question (in other words, if it would only be understood by architects and engineers). Hope that helps. Feb 1, 2021 at 17:40
  • 1
    It’s a canopy. Cantilevered roof is not rare, it’s just not the right word here.
    – Xanne
    Feb 1, 2021 at 22:35
  • 2
    I know that this answer has been accepted but I'm afraid that I don't agree. An overhang is part of a more complex structure, either an upper storey or a roof covering at least part of the building itself. The structure in the photo exists only to cover the space outside the doorway.
    – BoldBen
    Feb 2, 2021 at 8:28
  • I feel this is now a pretty good and excellent answer. I understand BoldBen's point (so, just "canopy" would be better) but, Ben, I do feel the word is sometimes used "ex nihilo" like that.
    – Fattie
    Feb 2, 2021 at 11:59


Architecture A projection or shelter that resembles a roof.

‘they mounted the station steps under the concrete canopy’

  • I think of something triangular and pointy (or at least hung) personally
    – user84614
    Nov 1, 2022 at 17:12

A marquee is most commonly a structure placed over the entrance to a hotel, theatre, casino, train station, or similar building. It often has signage stating either the name of the establishment or, in the case of theatres, the play or movie and the artist(s) appearing at that venue.

In the OED:

enter image description here

  • This is clearly a good technical term for it, but would most non-technical readers understand?  (I'd immediately think of a big tent…)  — Mind you, it's interesting to see the origin for the old <marquee> HTML tag, for those of us who suffered it in the Web's early days…
    – gidds
    Feb 2, 2021 at 9:03
  • 1
    @RedSonja I'm afraid you are utterly incorrect. Simply glance in the OED. The first and primary meaning is exactly the subject of this page.
    – Fattie
    Feb 2, 2021 at 12:02
  • 1
    @gidds - could there be a Brit/US thing going on? It is extremely common to talk of marquees (as in "Broadway"), very few people call a "party tent" a marquee.
    – Fattie
    Feb 2, 2021 at 12:06
  • 1
    @Fattie Wiktionary agrees with the OED quote you've added: it marks the big-tent meaning as ‘Britain, Australia, New Zealand’, and the canopy meaning (and its generalisation to scrolling lights) as ‘US’.  So yes, the term does seem to have strong regional differences, and it only provides a good answer to the question in some areas.
    – gidds
    Feb 2, 2021 at 12:17
  • @gidds, yes, you make a fine point. I must say that in the UK I hear the discussed meaning (indeed, just as in the very British tube picture there!) but of course experiences vary. (purely FWIW I personally dismiss wikis as a source.)
    – Fattie
    Feb 2, 2021 at 12:20

I am blind and so cannot see the picture, but if it's some kind of permanent installation I would usually think of the description as being a 'portico': a structure consisting of a roof supported by columns at regular intervals, typically attached as a porch to a building.

However if it's just something made of cloth and supported by a couple of angled braces from the building itself then canopy would be entirely appropriate.

  • This is a good guess, but OP's example doesn't have any supporting columns. It's only supported where it attaches to the building.
    – The Photon
    Feb 2, 2021 at 6:19
  • I'd go for porch or portico, actually. It seems the language is missing a more exact word (see German "Vordach")
    – RedSonja
    Feb 2, 2021 at 9:44

While an overhang is the most technically correct answer, I think that more people would be likely to call it an awning, defined by Merriam Webster as "a rooflike cover extending over or in front of a place (as over the deck or in front of a door or window) as a shelter".

While it is most commonly used for fabric over shop fronts, that was my first thought on seeing the picture.

  • 1
    I considered awning at first, but the thing in the picture isn't an awning. An awning is usually a piece of fabric stretched over a terrace. Feb 2, 2021 at 9:18
  • An awning can be the same thing as in the question, but made of fabric (or made to look like fabric). So awning is a subset of whatever it is. I'd go for porch.
    – RedSonja
    Feb 2, 2021 at 9:42
  • A porch has supports, and is often enclosed as almost its own room, and while an awning is most often fabric, a simple google search for solid awning comes up with a lot of results. I think the biggest (common use) difference in awnings is that the most commonly used ones are retractable (though that's not part of the definition) :-)
    – Rycochet
    Feb 2, 2021 at 9:48
  • 2
    No doubt this is culturally connoted, but awning was the word that sprang immediately to my mind, and if you asked me to define awning the key characteristics would be (a) cantilevered ie supported by torsional forces on the wall to which it attaches or tensile support anchored higher on the wall and (b) not part of the roof or upper floor.
    – Peter Wone
    Feb 2, 2021 at 11:10

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