from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A cylindrical wicker basket filled with earth and stones, formerly used in building fortifications.
- n. A hollow metal cylinder used especially in constructing dams and foundations.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A cylindrical basket or cage of wicker which was filled with earth or stones and used in fortifications and other engineering work (a precursor to the sandbag).
- n. A woven wire mesh unit, sometimes rectangular, made from a continuous mesh panel and filled with stones sometimes coated with polyvinyl chloride.
- n. A porous metal cylinder filled with stones and used in a variety of civil engineering contexts, especially in the construction of retaining walls, the reinforcing of steep slopes, or in the prevention of erosion in river banks.
- n. A knickknack, objet d'art, curiosity, collectable.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A hollow cylinder of wickerwork, like a basket without a bottom. Gabions are made of various sizes, and filled with earth in building fieldworks to shelter men from an enemy's fire.
- n. An openwork frame, as of poles, filled with stones and sunk, to assist in forming a bar dyke, etc., as in harbor improvement.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In fortification, a large basket of wickerwork constructed with stakes and osiers, or green twigs, in a cylindrical form, but without a bottom, varying in diameter from 20 to 70 inches, and in height from 33 inches to 5 or 6 feet, filled with earth, and serving to shelter men from an enemy's fire.
- n. See the quotation.
French, from Italian gabbione, augmentative of gabbia, cage, from Latin cavea.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Italian gabbione, augmentative of gabbia, itself from Latin cavea. (Wiktionary)