Meaning of machicolation in English:


Pronunciation /məˌtʃɪkəˈleɪʃn/


  • 1(in medieval fortifications) an opening between the supporting corbels of a projecting parapet or the vault of a gate, through which stones or burning objects could be dropped on attackers.

    ‘Known as a barbican, this part of the castle would have a drawbridge, a portcullis, arrow slits, machicolations (murder holes) - any devise that was thought to be useful at stopping the enemy.’
    • ‘Built between 1432 and 1448 by Ralph, Lord Cromwell, High Treasurer of the Realm, certain features, such as the machicolations below the battlements, may derive from Continental precedents.’
    1. 1.1A projecting structure containing a series of machicolations.
      ‘It was only when you passed underneath the machicolation of the nearest tower that you caught your first glimpse of the monastery that lay hidden in the depth of the gorge.’
      • ‘Strictly called machicolations, defending soldiers above the murder holes would throw down onto the enemy underneath boiling water, boiling pitch etc., whatever was likely to put off the attacking soldiers.’


Late 18th century from Anglo-Latin machicollare (see machicolated) + -ation.