According to The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: cu'-po-la, noun, Architecture. a. A domed roof or ceiling. b. A small structure surmounting a roof.
The word cupola comes from the Latin meaning "little cupo" or little dome, and originally referred to the small domes atop cathedrals which allowed light to enter the sanctuary. But we are more familiar with the wonderful wooden cupolas on American barns and stables and the elegant cupolas on most public buildings.
Most cupolas are constructed of wood, with metal or shingle roofs, and have windows or louvers to admit light and allow hot air to escape. Therefore, cupolas are a pleasing combination of art and utility. They add classic lines to private homes, lend dignity to public buildings and add importance to any business by making the building itself more impressive. They are a graceful reminder of our American heritage.
Cupolas have always been an essential part of a barn's design - drawing continually moving air to dry the hay stored high in the barn. In fact, old Yankee farmers have referred to a cupola as "a roof over a hole in the roof".
We have found it to be very entertaining... the way different people pronounce the word "cupola". The way we pronounce it is kyoo'- puh-luh.
Other variations we have heard include: