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1: a tower that is part of a defensive structure (such as a castle) [syn: barbican, barbacan]
noun Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French barbecane, from Medieval Latin barbacana Date: 13th century an outer defensive work; a tower at a gate or bridge especially n. the outer defence of a city, castle, etc., esp. a double tower above a gate or drawbridge.
Etymology: ME f. OF barbacane, of unkn. orig. Barbican Bar"bi*can, Barbacan Bar"ba*can, n. [OE. barbican, barbecan, F. barbacane, LL. barbacana, barbicana, of uncertain origin: cf. Ar. barbakh aqueduct, sewer. F. barbacane also means, an opening to let out water, loophole.] 1. (Fort.) A tower or advanced work defending the entrance to a castle or city, as at a gate or bridge. It was often large and strong, having a ditch and drawbridge of its own. 2. An opening in the wall of a fortress, through which missiles were discharged upon an enemy.
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