[ ba-steel; French bas-tee-yuh ]
/ bæˈstil; French basˈti yə /

noun, plural bas·tilles [ba-steelz; French bas-tee-yuh]. /bæˈstilz; French basˈti yə/.

(initial capital letter) a fortress in Paris, used as a prison, built in the 14th century and destroyed July 14, 1789.
any prison or jail, especially one conducted in a tyrannical way.
a fortified tower, as of a castle; a small fortress; citadel.



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Also bas·tile [ba-steel]. /bæˈstil/.

Origin of bastille

1350–1400; Middle English bastile<Middle French, probably alteration of bastidebastide, with -ile (<Medieval Latin, Latin -īle noun suffix of place) replacing -ide; replacing Middle English bastel<Old French basstel, with -el similarly replacing -ide Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for bastille

British Dictionary definitions for bastille

/ (bæˈstiːl, French bastij) /


a fortress in Paris, built in the 14th century: a prison until its destruction in 1789, at the beginning of the French Revolution

Word Origin for Bastille

C14: from Old French bastile fortress, from Old Provençal bastida, from bastir to build, of Germanic origin; see baste 1
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

Cultural definitions for bastille

[ (ba-steel) ]

A prison in Paris where many political and other offenders were held and tortured until the time of the French Revolution. It was attacked by workers on July 14, 1789, during the revolution; the prisoners were released, and the building was later demolished.

notes for Bastille

The anniversary of the attack, Bastille Day, is the most important national holiday in France.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.