Nautical. any of various wall-like constructions inside a vessel, as for forming watertight compartments, subdividing space, or strengthening the structure.
Aeronautics. a transverse partition or reinforcing frame in the body of an airplane.
Civil Engineering.
  1. a partition built in a subterranean passage to prevent the passage of air, water, or mud.
  2. a retaining structure of timber, steel, or reinforced concrete, used for shore protection and in harbor works.
Building Trades.
  1. a horizontal or inclined outside door over a stairway leading to a cellar.
  2. a boxlike structure, as on a roof, covering a stairwell or other opening.

Origin of bulkhead

First recorded in 1490–1500; bulk2 + head
Related formsbulk·head·ed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for bulkhead

abutment, bulwark, embankment, bulkhead, revetment

Examples from the Web for bulkhead

Contemporary Examples of bulkhead

  • Nicole LaPorte talks to flight attendants about dirty diapers, bulkhead envy, and more.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Flight Attendant Freakout

    Nicole LaPorte

    November 23, 2010

Historical Examples of bulkhead

  • He knew besides such words as "hawser," "bulkhead" and "ebb-tide."

    The Harbor

    Ernest Poole

  • It laid over by the bulkhead, and was nearly the color of the carpet.

    Tom Sawyer, Detective

    Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

  • Someone slammed him against the bulkhead and held him there with his face to it.

    Satellite System

    Horace Brown Fyfe

  • He came to rest against a bulkhead, and leaned there with bleeding lips.

    Captain Blood

    Rafael Sabatini

  • Gregory, left to himself, edged closer against the bulkhead.

British Dictionary definitions for bulkhead



any upright wall-like partition in a ship, aircraft, vehicle, etc
a wall or partition built to hold back earth, fire, water, etc

Word Origin for bulkhead

C15: probably from bulk projecting framework, from Old Norse bálkr partition + head
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 bulkhead

late 15c., with head (n.); the first element perhaps from bulk "framework projecting in the front of a shop" (1580s), which is perhaps from Old Norse bolkr "beam, balk" (see balk (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper