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See more synonyms for breastwork on Thesaurus.com
noun Fortification.
  1. a defensive work, usually breast high.
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Origin of breastwork

First recorded in 1635–45; breast + work
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for breastwork

barricade, stronghold, mainstay, citadel, fortress, bulwark, reinforcement, bastion, ridge, fence, barrier, wall, parapet, support, guard, defense, hill, embankment, protection, elevation

Examples from the Web for breastwork

Historical Examples of breastwork

  • He was behind a boulder, not too dissimilar to Calhoun's breastwork.

    Pariah Planet

    Murray Leinster

  • The breastwork was about five feet high, and was absolutely unclimbable.

  • All the miners rushed to the breastwork save one, and that was Seth.

    Picked up at Sea

    J.C. Hutcheson

  • None of them, however, showed any signs of returning to the breastwork.

    The Desert Home

    Mayne Reid

  • The builders of that breastwork were before my eyes, and apparently just resting from their labours.

    The Desert Home

    Mayne Reid

British Dictionary definitions for breastwork


  1. fortifications a temporary defensive work, usually breast-highAlso called: parapet
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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 breastwork


"fieldwork thrown up breast-high for defense," 1640s, from breast (n.) + work (n.) in "fortification" sense. Old English had breostweall in same sense.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper