A bressummer, breastsummer, summer beam (somier, sommier, sommer, somer, cross-somer, summer, summier, summer-tree, or dorman, dormant tree) is a load-bearing beam in a timber-framed building. The word summer derived from sumpter or French sommier, "a pack horse", meaning "bearing great burden or weight". "To support a superincumbent wall", "any beast of burden", and in this way is similar to a wall plate.
- (UK) In the outward part of the building, and the middle floors (not in the garrets or ground floors) into which the girders are framed. In the inner parts of a building, such beams are called "summers". It is part of the timber-frame construction in the overhanging upper story in jettying.
- (UK) "Horizontal beam over a fireplace opening (alternatively lintel, mantel beam), or set forward from the lower part of a building to support a jettied wall, a jetty bressummer".
- (UK) "...usually the sill of the upper wall above a jetty; otherwise any beam spanning an opening and supporting a wall above." also called a "jetty sill".
- (UK) Breastsummer is a beam in a wall which carries the load over a large opening derived from breast being in the front, mid-level and summer: "A horizontal, bearing beam in a building; spec. the main beam supporting the girders or joists of a floor...".
- "a main piece of timber that supports a building, an architrave between two pillars"
- "Breast-Summer, an architectural term for a beam employed like a lintel to support the front of a building, is a corruption of bressumer..."
- (US) "Summer beam: A large timber spanning a room and supporting smaller floor joists on both sides."
- (US) "Summer beam. Heavy main horizontal beam, anchored in gable foundation walls, that supports forebay beams and barn frame above."
- A Dictionary of the Old English Language
- Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, 1913.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chambers, Ephraim, ed. (1728). "Bressummer". Cyclopædia, or an Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences (1st ed.). James and John Knapton, et al.
- Alcock, N. W. Recording timber-framed buildings: an illustrated glossary. London: Council for British Archaeology, 1989. G4, 14h, 15b. ISBN 1872414729
- Harris, Richard. Discovering Timber-Framed Buildings. 2d ed. Aylesbury: Shire Publications, 1979. p.94. ISBN 0747802157.
- "Breastsummer" def. 1. Oxford English Dictionary Second Edition on CD-ROM (v. 4.0) Oxford University Press 2009
- Bailey; Kennett, 1695
- Palmer, Abram Smythe. Folk-Etymology: A Dictionary of Verbal Corruptions or Words Perverted in Form or Meaning, by False Derivation or Mistaken Analogy (1882), quoting Parker's Glossary of Architecture.
- Sobon, Jack. Build a Classic Timber-Framed House: Planning & Design/Traditional Materials/Affordable Methods. Pownal, Vt.: Storey Communications, 1994. p.191.ISBN 0882668412
- Ensminger, Robert F. The Pennsylvania barn: its origin, evolution, and distribution in North America. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992. p.392.