• WordNet 3.6
    • n belfry a room (often at the top of a tower) where bells are hung
    • n belfry a bell tower; usually stands alone unattached to a building
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: August 9, 1173 marked the first day of construction on the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It was completed sometime in 1370 after two building stoppages. In 1178, when the tower was three stories tall, construction was halted for unknown reasons. It wasn't until 1272 that construction resumed, and that lasted until 1278 (the tower was seven stories at that point). In 1360, construction of the belfry that would eventually hold seven bells began.
    • Belfry A bell tower, usually attached to a church or other building, but sometimes separate; a campanile.
    • Belfry (Mil. Antiq) A movable tower erected by besiegers for purposes of attack and defense.
    • Belfry A room in a tower in which a bell is or may be hung; or a cupola or turret for the same purpose.
    • Belfry (Naut) The framing on which a bell is suspended.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n belfry A movable wooden tower used in the middle ages in attacking fortified places. It consisted of several stages, was mounted on wheels, and was generally covered with raw hides to protect those under it from fire, boiling oil, etc. The lowermost story sometimes sheltered a battering-ram; the stories intermediate between it and the uppermost were filled with bowmen, arbalisters, etc., to gall the defenders; while the uppermost story was furnished with a drawbridge to let down on the wall, over which the storming party rushed to the assault.
    • n belfry A stationary tower near a fortified place, in which were stationed sentinels to watch the surrounding country and give notice of the approach of an enemy. It was furnished with a bell to give the alarm to the garrison, and also to summon the vassals of a feudal lord to his defense. This circumstance helped the belief that the word was connected with bell.
    • n belfry A bell-tower, generally attached to a church or other building, but sometimes standing apart as an independent structure.
    • n belfry That part of a steeple or other structure in which a bell is hung; particularly, the frame of timberwork which sustains the bell. See cut under bell-gable.
    • n belfry Nautical, the ornamental frame in which the ship's bell is hung.
    • n belfry A shed used as a shelter for cattle or for farm implements or produce.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Belfry bel′fri the part of a steeple or tower in which bells are hung: a bell-tower, sometimes standing apart: a movable wooden tower, used in the Middle Ages in attacking a fortification
    • ***


Bats in the belfry - Someone with bats in the belfry is crazy or eccentric.


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. berfray, movable tower used in sieges, OF. berfreit, berfroit, F. beffroi, fr. MHG. bervrit, bercvrit, G. bergfriede, fr. MHG. bergen, to protect (G. bergen, to conceal) + vride, peace, protection, G. friede, peace; in compounds often taken in the sense of security, or place of security; orig. therefore a place affording security. G. friede, is akin to E. free,. See Burg, and Free
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Orig. and properly a watch-tower, from O. Fr. berfroi—Mid. High Ger. berchfritfrid, frit, a tower, bergan, to protect.


In literature:

Under what remained of the belfry tower behind the rampart of sandbags the grey-painted 77 mm.
"With Haig on the Somme" by D. H. Parry
At Kirkoswald, in Cumberland, where the church stands low, the belfry has been erected on an adjoining hill.
"Notes and Queries, Number 207, October 15, 1853" by Various
The height of the wooden fabric of the same belfry contains cclxxiiij feet.
"A Chronicle of London from 1089 to 1483" by Anonymous
The Giralda, with its Moorish base and its Christian belfry, is a symbol of Andalusia.
"The Land of The Blessed Virgin; Sketches and Impressions in Andalusia" by William Somerset Maugham
In the middle of the town is a gateway surmounted by a belfry, dating from the 15th century.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 3, Part 1, Slice 1" by Various
The belfry and the altar-dome are of burned brick, the only example of brick construction among the early Spanish missions.
"The Book of the National Parks" by Robert Sterling Yard
It was a great success, and was safe in the little belfry before the church was consecrated, in February, 1851.
"Sketches of Our Life at Sarawak" by Harriette McDougall
These are the Cathedral, the Baptistery, and the Belfry, or, as it is more generally known, the Leaning Tower.
"Foot-prints of Travel" by Maturin M. Ballou
The King went out to the belfry, that stood in the great, bare, quiet, moonlit square, and he opened the door.
"The Magic World" by Edith Nesbit
There must have been millions, hatched, no doubt, in the heat of the wooden belfry.
"Highways and Byways in Surrey" by Eric Parker

In poetry:

``Why do our senses love to list
When distant cataracts murmur thus?
Why stealeth o'er your eyes a mist
When belfries toll the Angelus?
"At The Gate Of The Convent" by Alfred Austin
And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
"Flower-De-Luce: Christmas Bells" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
I saw the worn rope idle hang
    Beside me in the belfry brown.
I gave the bell a solemn toll—
    I rang the knell for Gosport town.
"On Star Island" by Sarah Orne Jewett
Christ is arisen. The place wherein
They laid Him shows but cerements furled,
And belfry answers belfry's din
To ring the tidings round the world.
"The Door Of Humility" by Alfred Austin
In the city of Darmstadt, the Sabbath morn
Shone over the broad Cathedral Square,
And to nobly, richly, and lowly born,
The belfry carilloned call to prayer.
"The Dance At Darmstadt" by Alfred Austin
I clomb full high the belfry tower
Up to yon arrow-slit, up and away,
I said 'let me look on my heart's fair flower
In the walled garden where she doth play.'
"An Arrow-Slit" by Jean Ingelow

In news:

A series of events are being held to honor the 150th anniversary of Emancipation in Oxford courtesy of the Burns- Belfry Museum and Multicultural Center.
Markt, the main square in Bruges , is dominated by a 13th-century belfry and a neo-Gothic courthouse.
Before fire crews arrived, residents fought a small wildfire along the Belfry Highway using blankets.
The fire started near the road on Sunday, June 24, just a few miles south of Belfry, Mont.
's Liquor Control and Licensing Branch sent a letter to Victoria's Belfry Theatre prohibiting it from auctioning donated bottles of wine.
Principal's challenge lands him in bat-free belfry -- for a cause.
Whew, no bats in this belfry.
Ashland Blazer 35, Belfry 20.
A series of events are being held to honor the 150th anniversary of Emancipation in Oxford courtesy of the Burns-Belfry Museum and Multicultural Center.
Burns-Belfry hosts series on emancipation .
It was a good old-fashioned smash-mouth football game between the Belfry Pirates and the Louisville Central Yellowjackets.
Sani Warren (Belfry) 10 of 19 for 196 yards, 2 TDs, 3 car.
That was Love 's first Ryder Cup experience, as the Americans defeated the Europeans 15-13 at the Belfry in Wishaw, England.
Marge Belfry sold items from her scrapbook-supplies business in Mukilteo, Wash.
Belfry removed from former Voluntown Methodist Church .