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[buhlk-hed] /ˈbʌlkˌhɛd/
Nautical. any of various wall-like constructions inside a vessel, as for forming watertight compartments, subdividing space, or strengthening the structure.
Aeronautics. a transverse partition or reinforcing frame in the body of an airplane.
Civil Engineering.
  1. a partition built in a subterranean passage to prevent the passage of air, water, or mud.
  2. a retaining structure of timber, steel, or reinforced concrete, used for shore protection and in harbor works.
Building Trades.
  1. a horizontal or inclined outside door over a stairway leading to a cellar.
  2. a boxlike structure, as on a roof, covering a stairwell or other opening.
Origin of bulkhead
First recorded in 1490-1500; bulk2 + head
Related forms
bulkheaded, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for bulkhead
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He knew besides such words as "hawser," "bulkhead" and "ebb-tide."

    The Harbor Ernest Poole
  • It laid over by the bulkhead, and was nearly the color of the carpet.

    Tom Sawyer, Detective Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
  • Someone slammed him against the bulkhead and held him there with his face to it.

    Satellite System Horace Brown Fyfe
  • He came to rest against a bulkhead, and leaned there with bleeding lips.

    Captain Blood Rafael Sabatini
  • Gregory, left to himself, edged closer against the bulkhead.

  • He seems to be thumping the bulkhead with his fists—or his head.

    Chance Joseph Conrad
  • "So that bulkhead held out after all," I remarked cheerfully.

    Lord Jim Joseph Conrad
  • Would you have had the courage to swing the maul for the first blow if you had seen that bulkhead?

    Lord Jim Joseph Conrad
  • There he was on the other side of the bulkhead, four or five feet from us, no more, as we sat in the saloon.

    The Secret Sharer Joseph Conrad
British Dictionary definitions for bulkhead


any upright wall-like partition in a ship, aircraft, vehicle, etc
a wall or partition built to hold back earth, fire, water, etc
Word Origin
C15: probably from bulk projecting framework, from Old Norse bálkr partition + head
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bulkhead

late 15c., with head (n.); the first element perhaps from bulk "framework projecting in the front of a shop" (1580s), which is perhaps from Old Norse bolkr "beam, balk" (see balk (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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