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portcullis

portcullis (pôrtkŭl´Ĭs), grating or framework of strong bars of wood or iron, sharp-pointed at their lower ends, sliding vertically in the grooved jambs of a fortified portal as a protection in case of assault. First used in Roman times against Hannibal, the portcullis reached its highest development in the 12th cent. as a characteristic feature of the defensive system of a castle or fortified town. It could be dropped suddenly in a surprise attack. Through its grating the defenders could keep up a fire of arrows and other missiles. In the 14th cent., with the development of gunpowder, its tactical value was reduced.

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portcullis

portcullis. Strong door in a fortified medieval gateway, sliding vertically, normally a grating heavily framed of wood strengthened with iron, with pointed iron bars at the bottom. Usually kept in the raised position, it could be dropped suddenly when required for reasons of defence. See also yett.

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portcullis

portcullis XIV. ME. port colice, -coles, -(e)cules, porcules — OF. porte coleïce, i.e. porte door (PORT2), col(e)ïce, coulice, fem. of couleïs gliding. sliding:- Rom. *cōlātīcius, f. L. cōlāre, -āt- filter.

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portcullis

port·cul·lis / pôrtˈkələs/ • n. a strong, heavy grating sliding up and down in vertical grooves, lowered to block a gateway to a fortress or town. DERIVATIVES: port·cul·lised adj.

portcullis

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portcullis

portcullisAlice, chalice, challis, malice, palace, Tallis •aurora australis •Ellis, trellis •necklace •aurora borealis, Baylis, digitalis, Fidelis, rayless •ageless • aimless • keyless •amaryllis, cilice, Dilys, fillis, Phyllis •ribless • lidless • rimless •kinless, sinless, winless •lipless • witless • annus mirabilis •annus horribilis • syphilis •eyeless, skyless, tieless •polis, solace, Wallace •joyless •Dulles, portcullis •accomplice •Annapolis, Indianapolis, Minneapolis •Persepolis •acropolis, cosmopolis, Heliopolis, megalopolis, metropolis, necropolis •chrysalis • surplice • amice • premise •airmiss • Amis • in extremis • Artemis •promise •pomace, pumice •Salamis •dermis, epidermis, kermis

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