A projecting beam or other structure supported at only one end. Any part of a structure that projects beyond its main support and is balanced on it.
Merriam-Webster Online Dictionarycantilever
a projecting beam or member supported at only one end as
a) a bracket-shaped member supporting a balcony or a cornice
b) either of the two beams or trusses that project from piers toward each other and that when joined directly or by a suspended connecting member form a span of a cantilever bridge
to support by a cantilever - a cantilevered shelf
to build as a cantilever to project as a cantilever
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A schematic image of three types of cantilever. The top example has a full moment connection (like a horizontal flagpole bolted to the side of a building). The middle example is created by an extension of a simple supported beam (such as the way a diving board
is anchored and extends over the edge of a swimming pool). The bottom example is created by adding a Robin boundary condition
to the beam element, which essentially adds an elastic spring to the end board. The middle and bottom example may be considered structurally equivalent, depending on the effective stiffness of the spring and beam element
A cantilever is a rigid structural element, such as a beam or a plate, anchored at one end to a (usually vertical) support from which it protrudes; this connection could also be perpendicular to a flat, vertical surface such as a wall. Cantilevers can also be constructed with trusses or slabs. When subjected to a structural load, the cantilever carries the load to the support where it is forced against by a moment and shear stress.
Cantilever construction allows for overhanging structures without external bracing, in contrast to constructions supported at both ends with loads applied between the supports, such as a simply supported beam found in a post and lintel system.