American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A tower or other fortification on the approach to a castle or town, especially one at a gate or drawbridge.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In medieval fortification, an outwork of a castle or fortified place. Properly, a post in which a force could be sheltered so as to be ready for a sortie to protect communications, etc. Such a work frequently supplied an advantageous means for taking an assailant in the flank, and, while communicating with the main post, seldom contained the chief entrance to it.
- n. A loophole.
- n. A channel or scupper in a parapet for the discharge of water.
- n. A scansorial barbet of the family Capitonidæ and subfamily Pogonorhynchinæ, or the genus Pogonias in a broad sense. The barbicans are all African, like the barbions.
- n. A tower at the entrance to a castle or fortified town
- n. A fortress at the end of a bridge.
- n. An opening in the wall of a fortress through which the guns are levelled; a narrow loophole through which arrows and other missiles may be shot.
- n. A temporary wooden tower built for defensive purposes.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Fort.) A tower or advanced work defending the entrance to a castle or city, as at a gate or bridge. It was often large and strong, having a ditch and drawbridge of its own.
- n. An opening in the wall of a fortress, through which missiles were discharged upon an enemy.
- n. a tower that is part of a defensive structure (such as a castle)
- From Old French barbacane, of uncertain origin: compare Arabic بربخ (barbakh, "aqueduct, sewer"), and Persian بابخانه (bab-khâna, "gatehouse"). (Wiktionary)
- Middle English, from Old French barbacane, from Medieval Latin barbacana, from Persian barbārkhān : barbār, guard (from Old Iranian *parivāraka-, protective; see wer-4 in Indo-European roots) + khān, house (from Middle Persian). (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Within the barbican was another group of veteran invalids, one mounting guard at the portal, while the rest, wrapped in their tattered cloaks, slept on the stone benches.”
“The castle moat divided this species of barbican [Footnote: A barbican is a tower or outwork built to defend the entry to a castle or fortification.] from the rest of the fortress, so that, in case of its being taken, it was easy to cut off the communication with the main building, by withdrawing the temporary bridge.”
“On entering the small outer barbican, which is reached by a lane from the market-place, we come to the base of the Norman keep.”
“It was then, probably, that the towers were made along the embattled walls, and especially one of those peculiar towers called a barbican, contrived so as to give an outlook on approaching foes.”
“Ascending the steep and shady avenue, we arrived at the foot of a huge square Moorish tower, forming a kind of barbican, through which passed the main entrance to the fortress.”
“Ascending the steep and shady avenue, we arrived at the foot of a huge square Moorish tower; forming a kind of barbican, through which passed the main entrance to the fortress.”
“Entrance to the castle is gained by a bridge crossing the moat; this has replaced the old drawbridge and leads to a gatehouse with battlements, a kind of barbican, of two storeys.”
“The only entrance is under the vaulted archway of the barbican, still as jealously guarded as if Saracen, Turk, or Spaniard threatened an attack.”
“We pass under a gloomy arch in the barbican, surmounted by a strong tower, and establish ourselves in a very unpromising locanda, after vainly searching for better quarters.”
“Three other ancient towers, including the barbican already mentioned, strengthened the position; and others, with ramparts, curtains, and bastions, were added to the works in succeeding times, till the whole circuit of the rocky plateau bristles with defensive works.”
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being items related to mediaeval warfare, arms and armaments.
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Discombobulating the illiterate since the middle of the last century.
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