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[tur-it, tuhr-] /ˈtɜr ɪt, ˈtʌr-/
a small tower, usually one forming part of a larger structure.
a small tower at an angle of a building, as of a castle or fortress, frequently beginning some distance above the ground.
Also called turrethead
[tur-it-hed, tuhr-] /ˈtɜr ɪtˌhɛd, ˈtʌr-/ (Show IPA)
. a pivoted attachment on a lathe or the like for holding a number of tools, each of which can be presented to the work in rapid succession by a simple rotating movement.
Military. a domelike, sometimes heavily armored structure, usually revolving horizontally, within which guns are mounted, as on a fortification, ship, or aircraft.
Fortification. a tall structure, usually moved on wheels, formerly employed in breaching or scaling a fortified place, a wall, or the like.
Origin of turret
1300-50; Middle English turet < Middle French turete, equivalent to tur tower1 + -ete -et
Related forms
turretless, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for turrets
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Barrington Court (now a farm) is a magnificent E-shaped building, with numerous twisted chimneys, turrets, and finials.

    Somerset G.W. Wade and J.H. Wade
  • Each college, each church—he counted them by their pinnacles and turrets.

    Loss and Gain John Henry Newman
  • The great clock striking two has just filled the turrets with its sound.

    Secresy E. (Eliza) Fenwick
  • It was a huge house with towers and turrets and a water gate with stairs.

    The History of London Walter Besant
  • The free-board amidships is still higher, being at this point level with the platform on which the two turrets are placed.

    Man on the Ocean R.M. Ballantyne
  • She carried seven guns, those in the turrets weighing 25 tons.

  • This ornamentation might be extended to the turrets of the inner walls.

  • Entrance is gained to the turrets themselves from inside this breastwork.

    Man on the Ocean R.M. Ballantyne
  • The besieged defended themselves on the walls and turrets with bows, spears, and stones.

British Dictionary definitions for turrets


a small tower that projects from the wall of a building, esp a medieval castle
  1. a self-contained structure, capable of rotation, in which weapons are mounted, esp in tanks and warships
  2. a similar structure on an aircraft that houses one or more guns and sometimes a gunner
a tall wooden tower on wheels used formerly by besiegers to scale the walls of a fortress
(on a machine tool) a turret-like steel structure with tools projecting radially that can be indexed round to select or to bring each tool to bear on the work
Word Origin
C14: from Old French torete, from tor tower, from Latin turris
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 turrets



c.1300, "small tower," from Old French touret (12c.), diminutive of tour "tower," from Latin turris (see tower). Meaning "low, flat gun-tower on a warship" is recorded from 1862, later also of tanks. Related: Turreted.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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