• WordNet 3.6
    • n barbican a tower that is part of a defensive structure (such as a castle)
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Barbican (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.
    • Barbican An opening in the wall of a fortress, through which missiles were discharged upon an enemy.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n barbican In medieval fortification, an outwork of a castle or fortified place. Properly, a post in which a force could be sheltered so as to be ready for a sortie to protect communications, etc. Such a work frequently supplied an advantageous means for taking an assailant in the flank, and, while communicating with the main post, seldom contained the chief entrance to it.
    • n barbican A loophole.
    • n barbican A channel or scupper in a parapet for the discharge of water.
    • n barbican A scansorial barbet of the family Capitonidæ and subfamily Pogonorhynchinæ, or the genus Pogonias in a broad sense. The barbicans are all African, like the barbions.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Barbican bär′bi-kan a projecting watch-tower over the gate of a castle or fortified town, esp. the outwork intended to defend the drawbridge.
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
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
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
O. Fr. barbacane, also in Sp., Port., and It. forms; perh. of Ar. or Pers. origin. Col. Yule suggests bābkhānah, gate-house, name in the East for a towered gateway.


In literature:

So somehow or other the Jack-tars got the lobster out, and set the mayor free, and put him ashore at the Barbican.
"The Water-Babies" by Charles Kingsley
They lived about Turnmill Street, Houndsditch and the Barbican, outside the walls.
"The History of London" by Walter Besant
My instinct seems to tell me that yours is the right end of the stick, at Barbican.
"The Red Triangle" by Arthur Morrison
Guarded by a barbican and surrounded by trees it rises upon its artificial mound some little distance in front of the city.
"A History of Art in Chaldæa & Assyria, v. 1" by Georges Perrot
But "Crepul geat" is good Anglo-Saxon for a covered way, and the covered way here led to the Barbican.
"Memorials of Old London" by Various
The twelve gates, six on the left bank of the river and six on the right, are strengthened by barbicans.
"Chit-Chat; Nirvana; The Searchlight" by Mathew Joseph Holt
Circular towers, protected by a barbican, guard the entrance on the land side.
"England, Picturesque and Descriptive" by Joel Cook
Nine square towers defended the walls, and the principal gate was protected by a barbican.
"The Shores of the Adriatic" by F. Hamilton Jackson
The original church was founded in the year 1760, in the Barbican.
"The Religious Life of London" by J. Ewing Ritchie
She established herself under the protection of the Spanish ambassador, whose house was in the Barbican.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 5, Slice 4" by Various
One was like a barbican, having towers and loopholes for the archers.
"History of the Spanish Conquest of Yucatan and of the Itzas" by Philip Ainsworth Means
The guard in the old Barbican no longer proclaimed my arrival on a trumpet, but presented a very business-like looking bayonet.
"The New Germany" by George Young
Jadar's guards directed them along a pathway of carpets leading through the outer barbican.
"The Moghul" by Thomas Hoover
LIPSHYTZ, Christlieb T., Director of the Barbican Mission to the Jews, London.
"Some Jewish Witnesses For Christ" by Rev. A. Bernstein, B.D.
The besiegers also mined, but at another part, their object being to get under the square barbican and throw it down.
"The Cloister and the Hearth" by Charles Reade
The laughter that pealed from loop-hole, crevice, and barbican, was, at this eventual period, excessive.
"The Three Perils of Man, Vol. 3 (of 3)" by James Hogg
The principal barbican, or watch tower, is not at the entrance, but towards the north-east corner.
"Nooks and Corners of English Life, Past and Present" by John Timbs
A. Tidman, of Barbican, offered the designation prayer; and the Rev.
"The Baptist Magazine, Vol. 27, June 1835" by Various
A small barbican, which has now disappeared, stood upon the outer edge of the moat.
"British Castles" by Charles H. Ashdown
Before the sun was midway in the heavens, a fierce struggle had begun between the besiegers and the besieged for possession of the barbican.
"The Siege of Norwich Castle" by Matilda Maria Blake

In poetry:

All our jubilant eyes are raised,
Jubilo. Over the barbican
On the great Day pure and dazed,
Empty of heart the empty man
Of the Day of Jubilo
"Jubilo" by Allen Tate

In news:

OMA/Progress an exhibition at the Barbican Art Gallery, London, October 6, 2011–February 19, 2012.
Philip Studd BBC Radio 5 Live at the Barbican Centre, York.
Jazz pianist Dave Brubeck celebrates his 85th birthday on stage at London's Barbican Hall after a performance with the London Symphony Orchestra in 2005.
The piece is a co-commission of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Berlin Philharmonic and London's Barbican Centre.