A strong erection jutting into the sea, for affording shelter to shipping and small craft, or for the convenience of landing goods and passengers. For the former purpose they are usually constructed of very massive and durable materials, wrought together in the most solid manner; such as immense stones, dovetailed into each other, and cramped with iron, being supported on the outside by large piles driven into the ground, and strongly framed together by several rows of cross pieces. A rocky point is generally chosen (if to be obtained) for joining the pier to the land; the other end is extended out into the sea, either in a right line or a curve, but more generally the latter, to form an enclosed harbour for shipping within the curve. Breakwaters are more frequently in straight lines; chain-piers are also straight, as that at Brighton: the construction of these is precisely similar to suspension bridges. See Bridge.
Piers of a Bridge. The walls or masses from which the arches spring.