• WordNet 3.6
    • n machicolation a projecting parapet supported by corbels on a medieval castle; has openings through which stones or boiling water could be dropped on an enemy
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Machicolation (Mil. Arch) An opening between the corbels which support a projecting parapet, or in the floor of a gallery or the roof of a portal, for shooting or dropping missiles upon assailants attacking the base of the walls. Also, the construction of such defenses, in general, when of this character. See Illusts. of Battlement and Castle.
    • Machicolation The act of discharging missiles or pouring burning or melted substances upon assailants through such apertures.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n machicolation In medieval architecture, an opening in the vault of a portal or passage, or in the floor of a projecting gallery, made for the purpose of hurling missiles, or pouring down molten lead, hot pitch, etc., upon an enemy essaying to enter or mine. In the gallery type machicolations are formed by setting out the parapet or breastwork, B, supported on corbels; beyond the face of the wall, G, spaces between the corbels are left open, and constitute the machicolations. (See cut on following page.) Machicolations of permanent construction in stone were not introduced until toward the end of the twelfth century; but in the hoarding of wood with which walls and towers were crowned in time of need from the earliest period of the middle ages, their use was constant.
    • n machicolation The act of hurling missiles or of pouring burning liquids upon an enemy through apertures such as those described above.
    • n machicolation By extension, a machicolated parapet or gallery, or a projection supported on corbels, in imitation of medieval machicolated construction, without openings.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Machicolation mach-i-ko-lā′shun (archit.) a projecting parapet or gallery with openings for pouring molten substances upon an attacking force below: the construction or use of such means of defence
    • ***


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Cf. LL. machicolamentum, machacolladura, F. mâchicolis, mâchecoulis,; perh. fr. F. mèche, match, combustible matter + OF. coulis, couleis, flowing, fr. OF. & F. couler, to flow. Cf. Match for making fire, and Cullis
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Fr. mâchicoulis, from mâche, mash, coulis, a flowing—L. colāre, to filter.


In literature:

They even stood upon the machicolations of the Porte Sainte-Antoine.
"Notre-Dame de Paris" by Victor Hugo
It was neither flanked nor machicolated, and it might have been mined or assaulted at any point.
"The Thirsty Sword" by Robert Leighton
Here are three pentagonal towers, with machicolated battlements, and showing all the marks of war.
"Young Americans Abroad" by Various
You must all know well the look of the machicolated parapets in mediaeval castles.
"Love's Meinie" by John Ruskin
It is a fine machicolated building, which was in the Middle Ages the prison of the Republic.
"Memoirs" by Charles Godfrey Leland
This wooden story probably formed the bell chamber; the machicolation-like supports still existed in 1781.
"Bell's Cathedrals: The Cathedral Church of Rochester" by G. H. Palmer
We turn L. by the latter street and soon sight on our R. the massive machicolated Tower of Jean sans Peur (p. 133).
"The Story of Paris" by Thomas Okey
It is crowned by a machicolated cornice similar to that on the east end of S. Theodosia.
"Byzantine Churches in Constantinople" by Alexander Van Millingen
The base of the mount is surrounded with high thick walls, flanked with semi-circular towers all machicolated, and bastions.
"Architectural Antiquities of Normandy" by John Sell Cotman
Its orchid-shaped machicolations have also survived, and even to-day they are noticeably beautiful.
"Legends & Romances of Brittany" by Lewis Spence