Our Word of the Week – Ogee


Ogee Ogee, pronounced like saying the letters O.G., refers to a shape seen often in architecture, woodworking, and even aluminum gutters, of all places. An ogee shape is a curved shape that resembles an “s” shape (on its side) as shown below. It has two opposing curves that make up its length.

The shape you see on traditional mouldings (crown moulding or otherwise) and baseboard caps is often an ogee. Also, some gothic and Middle Eastern archways utilize the ogee form – curving up one side and mirrored down the other makes an archway. Even though the word is uncommon, the shape is fairly common in architecture. It is so common, it is even the shape of standard rain gutters.

Go ahead and impress your friends. Identify a shape as an ogee, instead of calling it curved or “s” shape. Or better yet, use the word in a game of Scrabble. I would bet your opponent will challenge you on it.

Two Versions of Ogee Shapes

There are two basic ogee curves. The more common is a version with the lower portion bulging out and the upper portion curving in. The accurate name for this is a Cyma Recta. This is very prevalent in American Colonial architecture. The second and less common version is the Cyma Reversa where the lower portion of the curve goes in and the upper portion bulges outward.


By the way, if you want to be architecturally accurate you will spell “moulding” this way with a “u” and not this way – molding.

I hope this information is helpful to you. You might want to get yourself a copy of my best-seller, Designing Your Perfect House. It is chockfull of valuable tips and advice that will save you many times the cost of the book on your house building or remodeling project. You might also like The Well-Centered Home: Simple Steps to Increase Mindfulness, Self-Awareness, and Happiness Where You Live. It will show you how to make your home a happy place.

Bill Hirsch | Architect

Bill Hirsch

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