American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A bell tower, especially one attached to a building.
- n. The part of a tower or steeple in which bells are hung.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A movable wooden tower used in the middle ages in attacking fortified places. It consisted of several stages, was mounted on wheels, and was generally covered with raw hides to protect those under it from fire, boiling oil, etc. The lowermost story sometimes sheltered a battering-ram; the stories intermediate between it and the uppermost were filled with bowmen, arbalisters, etc., to gall the defenders; while the uppermost story was furnished with a drawbridge to let down on the wall, over which the storming party rushed to the assault.
- n. A stationary tower near a fortified place, in which were stationed sentinels to watch the surrounding country and give notice of the approach of an enemy. It was furnished with a bell to give the alarm to the garrison, and also to summon the vassals of a feudal lord to his defense. This circumstance helped the belief that the word was connected with bell.
- n. A bell-tower, generally attached to a church or other building, but sometimes standing apart as an independent structure.
- n. That part of a steeple or other structure in which a bell is hung; particularly, the frame of timberwork which sustains the bell. See cut under bell-gable.
- n. Nautical, the ornamental frame in which the ship's bell is hung.
- n. A shed used as a shelter for cattle or for farm implements or produce.
- n. obsolete A moveable tower used in sieges.
- n. dialectal A shed.
- n. obsolete An alarm-tower; a watchtower containing an alarm-bell.
- n. architecture A tower or steeple specifically for containing bells, especially as part of a church.
- n. architecture A part of a large tower or steeple, specifically for containing bells.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Mil. Antiq.) A movable tower erected by besiegers for purposes of attack and defense.
- n. A bell tower, usually attached to a church or other building, but sometimes separate; a campanile.
- n. A room in a tower in which a bell is or may be hung; or a cupola or turret for the same purpose.
- n. (Naut.) The framing on which a bell is suspended.
- n. a room (often at the top of a tower) where bells are hung
- n. a bell tower; usually stands alone unattached to a building
- From Old French berfrey (changed to have an l by association with bell), from Middle High German bërcvrit / bërvrit , possibly from late Latin berefredus, borrowed from Germanic *bergfrid. (Wiktionary)
- Middle English belfrei, from Old North French belfroi, alteration of Old French berfrei, berfroi. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“However, every turret and belfry is covered with soldiers, and the streets are blocked up with troops and trenches.”
“The ringing-floor is on the next stage, and the belfry is the floor above.”
“When she called a shepherd from his flocks in the green valley to build for her a bell-tower so that she might hear, night and morning, the call to the altar, the shepherd built for her in such fashion that the belfry has been the Pharos of Art for five centuries.”
“By the same ordinance the municipal administration of Laon was put under the sole authority of the king and his delegates; and to blot out all remembrance of the olden independence of the commune, a later ordinance forbade that the tower from which the two huge communal bells had been removed should thenceforth be called belfry-tower.”
“To adhere to the sub - ject of cupolas, although the want of a belfry, which is an”
“The furry flying rodents weren't confined to the "belfry", butare soaring freely throughout the building.”
“Under the willow shade, and from one of the branches, I had hung a miniature "belfry," containing a tiny brass bell, and had led the string into the water, letting it go down to a considerable depth.”
“Every town in Belgium has its "belfry," a tower rising over some venerable building, from which, in the days of almost constant warfare, a beacon used to blaze, or a bell ring out, to call the citizens to arms.”
“There is an odd kind of belfry at the peak of one of the gables, with the small bell still hanging in it.”
“These small gates were opened every morning at seven o'clock on the ringing of the fort bell, which was suspended from a kind of belfry in the centre of the yard.”
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