barbican

[ bahr-bi-kuh n ]
/ ˈbɑr bɪ kən /

noun

an outwork of a fortified place, as a castle.
a defensive outpost of any sort.
Also barbacan.

Origin of barbican

1250–1300; Middle English barbecan, barbican < Old French barbacane or Medieval Latin barbacana, perhaps ≪ Persian bālāḥāna terrace over a roof, upper floor, altered by association with Latin barba beard, a beard marking the front or face of a thing
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for barbican

British Dictionary definitions for barbican (1 of 2)

barbican

/ (ˈbɑːbɪkən) /

noun

a walled outwork or tower to protect a gate or drawbridge of a fortification
a watchtower projecting from a fortification

Word Origin for barbican

C13: from Old French barbacane, from Medieval Latin barbacana, of unknown origin

British Dictionary definitions for barbican (2 of 2)

Barbican

/ (ˈbɑːbɪkən) /

noun

the Barbican a building complex in the City of London: includes residential developments and the Barbican Arts Centre (completed 1982) housing concert and exhibition halls, theatres, cinemas, etc
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

Word Origin and History for barbican

barbican


n.

"outer fortification of a city or castle," mid-13c., from Old French barbacane (12c.), a general Romanic word, perhaps ultimately from Arabic or Persian (cf. bab-khanah "gate-house").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper