• WordNet 3.6
    • n breastwork fortification consisting of a low wall
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Breastwork (Fort) A defensive work of moderate height, hastily thrown up, of earth or other material.
    • Breastwork (Naut) A railing on the quarter-deck and forecastle.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n breastwork In fortification, a hastily constructed work thrown up breast-high for defense.
    • n breastwork Nautical, a sort of balus-trade of rails or moldings which terminates the quarter-deck and poop at the fore ends, and also incloses the forecastle both before and behind.
    • n breastwork The parapet of a building.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • Breastwork a hastily constructed earthwork
    • ***


Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A.S. bréost; Ger. brust, Dut. borst.


In literature:

A breastwork of hewn logs was raised several feet high, enclosing a space eighty feet long by forty feet broad.
"The Adventures of the Chevalier De La Salle and His Companions, in Their Explorations of the Prairies, Forests, Lakes, and Rivers, of the New World, and Their Interviews with the Savage Tribes, Two Hundred Years Ago" by John S. C. Abbott
It is, however, ineffective against the occupants of the trenches, breastworks, or buildings.
"1914" by John French, Viscount of Ypres
Lieutenant Jackson ordered his men to form in front of the breastwork, for by this time the firing had ceased.
"Field and Forest" by Oliver Optic
The breastwork lay immediately in front.
"The Wild Man of the West" by R.M. Ballantyne
On the other side of the wire entanglements an officer and men, behind the breastwork pointed helmets and caps.
"The Better Germany in War Time" by Harold Picton
The Confederate breastworks extended across the neck of land formed by the river and a stream on the west for two miles.
"A Lieutenant at Eighteen" by Oliver Optic
Up to the very ditch surged the brave men in front of them, and one officer, a lieutenant, came over the breastwork uninjured.
"Golden Days for Boys and Girls" by Various
Here we found breastworks and were not constrained to labor as much as usual on such occasions.
"History of the Eighty-sixth Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry, during its term of service" by John R. Kinnear
At length he found a man clinging to the breastwork.
"A Yacht Voyage Round England" by W.H.G. Kingston
But this breastwork of earth did not extend far.
"The Border Watch" by Joseph A. Altsheler

In poetry:

Down on the left of the Rebel lines,
Where a breastwork stands in a copse of pines,
Before the Rebels their ranks can form,
The Yankees have carried the place by storm.
"Lee To The Rear" by John Reuben Thompson
When army clouds mingled in that civil storm
Which hung o'er the Nation in deep low'ring gloom,
Above a horizon of breastworks his form,
The emblem of Liberty, proudly did plume.
"Old Abe, The War Eagle Of Wisconsin" by Albery Allson Whitman
Then all was quiet again until after breakfast,
And when the brave little band had finished their repast,
Then the firing began from the heights on the right,
From the breastworks they had constructed during the night;
"The Battle of Abu Klea" by William Topaz McGonagall
Then the mealie bags and biscuit boxes were brought out,
And the breastwork was made quickly without fear or doubt,
And barely was it finished when some one cried in dismay,
"There's the Zulus coming just about twelve hundred yards away."
"The Hero of Rorke's Drift" by William Topaz McGonagall