PENTHOUSE, a sloping roof attached to a building either to serve as a porch or a covering for an arcade, or, if supported by walls, as a shed, a " lean-to." In the history of siegecraft, the word is particularly applied to the fixed or movable constructions used to protect the besiegers when mining, working battering-rams, catapults, etc., and is thus used to translate Lat. vinea and pluteus, and also testudo, the shelter of locked shields of the Romans. The Mid. Eng. form of the word is pentis, an adaptation of O. Fr. apenlis, Med. Lat. appenditium or appendicium, a small structure attached to, or dependent on, another building, from appendere, to hang on to. The form " penthouse " is due to a supposed connexion with " house " and Fr. pente, sloping roof. The more correct form " pentice " is now frequently used.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)