Gargoyles of Notre-Dame de Paris
Dragon-headed gargoyle of the Tallinn Town Hall, Estonia
Gargoyle of the Vasa Chapel at Wawel in Kraków, Poland

In architecture, and specifically Gothic architecture, a gargoyle (/ˈɡɑːrɡɔɪl/) is a carved or formed grotesque[1]: 6–8  with a spout designed to convey water from a roof and away from the side of a building, thereby preventing it from running down masonry walls and eroding the mortar between. Architects often used multiple gargoyles on a building to divide the flow of rainwater off the roof to minimize potential damage from rainstorms. A trough is cut in the back of the gargoyle and rainwater typically exits through the open mouth. Gargoyles are usually elongated fantastical animals because their length determines how far water is directed from the wall. When Gothic flying buttresses were used, aqueducts were sometimes cut into the buttress to divert water over the aisle walls.[2]

  1. ^ Cite error: The named reference Benton 1997 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^ "What Is a Gargoyle?". Wonderopolis. Retrieved 19 October 2018.