Meaning of bulwark


A bulwark is a wall built for protection or defense. If you and your pals build a secret fort for girls only, you might want to build a bulwark to surround it — with a “No Boys Allowed” sign posted prominently.

A seawall that runs perpendicular to the shore is sometimes called a bulwark, because it defends the beach, not against invaders, but against beach erosion. Although the noun bulwark can refer to any fortified wall, it often specifically refers to an earthen wall, like a rampart. As a verb, bulwark means to fortify with a wall or to provide protection: “The volunteers used sandbags to bulwark the levee in an attempt to prevent the flooded river from overflowing its banks.”

Definitions of bulwark
  1. noun

    an embankment built around a space for defensive purposes


    rampart, wall

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    Antonine Wall

    a fortification 37 miles long across the narrowest part of southern Scotland (between the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde); built in 140 to mark the frontier of the Roman province of Britain
    Great Wall of China

    a fortification 1,500 miles long built across northern China in the 3rd century BC; it averages 6 meters in width

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    the outer defensive wall that surrounds the outer courtyard of a castle
    battlement, crenelation, crenellation

    a rampart built around the top of a castle with regular gaps for firing arrows or guns

    an earthen rampart

    sloping or horizontal rampart of pointed stakes

    a solid section between two crenels in a crenelated battlement

    a small fort or earthwork defending a ford, pass, or castle gate
    type of:


    a long artificial mound of stone or earth; built to hold back water or to support a road or as protection

  2. noun

    a protective structure of stone or concrete; extends from shore into the water to prevent a beach from washing away


    breakwater, groin, groyne, jetty, mole, seawall

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    type of:


    a structure or object that impedes free movement

  3. noun

    a fencelike structure around a ship’s deck (usually plural)

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    type of:


    a structure or object that impedes free movement

  4. verb

    defend with a bulwark

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    type of:


    be on the defensive; act against an attack

Word Family

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