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[ji-brawl-ter] /dʒɪˈbrɔl tər/
a British crown colony comprising a fortress and seaport located on a narrow promontory near the S tip of Spain. 1.875 sq. mi. (5 sq. km).
Rock of.
  1. Ancient Calpe. a long, precipitous mountain nearly coextensive with this colony: one of the Pillars of Hercules. 1,396 feet (426 meters) high; 2.5 miles (4 km) long.
  2. any person or thing that has strength and endurance that can be relied on.
Strait of, a strait between Europe and Africa at the Atlantic entrance to the Mediterranean. 8.5–23 miles (14–37 km) wide.
any impregnable fortress or stronghold.
Related forms
[ji-brawl-tair-ee-uh n, jib-rawl-] /dʒɪ brɔlˈtɛər i ən, ˌdʒɪb rɔl-/ (Show IPA),
adjective, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for Gibraltar
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • No private letters for Gibraltar were permitted in the mail-bags, lest they should unwittingly betray counsel.

    The Life of Nelson, Vol. II. (of 2) A. T. (Alfred Thayer) Mahan
  • I'm off to Gibraltar on gipsy business—you'll soon have news of me.'

    Carmen Prosper Merimee
  • What a triangle of strongholds—Cyprus, Malta, and Gibraltar!

  • She, on her side, promised she would be ill until she left Gibraltar for Ronda.

    Carmen Prosper Merimee
  • South-west should carry them to Gibraltar, and there are they going away north-east.

British Dictionary definitions for Gibraltar


City of Gibraltar, a city on the Rock of Gibraltar, a limestone promontory at the tip of S Spain: settled by Moors in 711 and taken by Spain in 1462; ceded to Britain in 1713; a British crown colony (1830–1969), still politically associated with Britain; a naval and air base of strategic importance. Pop: 29 111 (2013 est). Area: 6.5 sq km (2.5 sq miles) Ancient name Calpe
Strait of Gibraltar, a narrow strait between the S tip of Spain and the NW tip of Africa, linking the Mediterranean with the Atlantic
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 Gibraltar

1590s, ancient Calpe, captured 710 C.E. by Saracen leader Tariq, renamed Jebel el Tarik "the Mountain of Tarik," hence the English name. A British possession since 1704. Figurative of impregnability by 1856.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Gibraltar in Culture
Gibraltar [(juh-brawl-tuhr)]

A colony of Britain on the southern coast of Spain.

Note: Located on the Rock of Gibraltar, a huge limestone mass.
Note: Spain has protested British control of Gibraltar, but the dispute has remained unsettled for years.
Note: Location of an important military base; strategically significant because it can be used to keep ships from entering or leaving the Mediterranean Sea.
Note: Its seeming impregnability as a fortress during several wars led to the saying: “solid as the Rock of Gibraltar.”
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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