• WordNet 3.6
    • n caisson large watertight chamber used for construction under water
    • n caisson a chest to hold ammunition
    • n caisson a two-wheeled military vehicle carrying artillery ammunition
    • n caisson an ornamental sunken panel in a ceiling or dome
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Caisson (Mil) A chest filled with explosive materials, to be laid in the way of an enemy and exploded on his approach.
    • Caisson (Mil) A chest to hold ammunition.
    • Caisson (Mil) A four-wheeled carriage for conveying ammunition, consisting of two parts, a body and a limber. In light field batteries there is one caisson to each piece, having two ammunition boxes on the body, and one on the limber.
    • Caisson A hollow floating box, usually of iron, which serves to close the entrances of docks and basins.
    • Caisson A structure, usually with an air chamber, placed beneath a vessel to lift or float it.
    • Caisson (Arch) A sunk panel of ceilings or soffits.
    • Caisson A water-tight box, of timber or iron within which work is carried on in building foundations or structures below the water level.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n caisson Milit.: A wooden chest into which several bombs are put, and sometimes gunpowder, to be exploded in the way of an enemy or under some work of which he has gained possession.
    • n caisson An ammunition-wagon; also, an ammunition-chest.
    • n caisson In architecture, a sunken panel in a coffered ceiling or in the soffit of Roman or Renaissance architecture, etc.; a coffer; a lacunar. See cut under coffer.
    • n caisson In civil engineering: A vessel in the form of a boat, used as a flood-gate in docks.
    • n caisson An apparatus on which vessels may be raised and floated; especially, a kind of floating dock, which may be sunk and floated under a vessel's keel, used for docking vessels at their moorings, without removing stores or masts. (See floating dock, under dock.)
    • n caisson A water-tight box or casing used in founding and building structures in water too deep for a coffer-dam, such as piers of bridges, quays, etc. The caisson is built upon land, and then chained and anchored directly over the bed, which has been leveled or piled to receive it. The masonry is built upon the bottom of the caisson, which is of heavy timber. As the caisson sinks with the weight, its sides are built up, so that the upper edge is always above water. In some cases the masonry is at first built hollow, and is not filled in until after it has reached its bed, and its sides have been carried higher than the surface of the water. Sometimes the sides of the masonry itself form the sides of the caisson. In another form the caisson, made of heavy timbers, is shaped like an inverted shallow box, having sharp, iron-bound edges. The weight of the masonry forces the caisson into the sand and mud on the bottom. Air under pressure is then forced into the caisson, driving out the water and permitting the workmen to enter through suitable air-locks. A sealed well or a pipe and sand-pump are provided, through which the material excavated under the caisson may be removed. The latter gradually sinks under the weight of the superstructure and the removal of the loose soil below, until a firm foundation is reached, when the whole interior of it is filled with concrete. The caissons beneath the towers of the East River suspension-bridge, connecting New York and Brooklyn, are of this description. The pneumatic caisson is an inverted air-tight box, into which air is forced under a pressure sufficient to expel the water, thus leaving a space in which men can work to loosen the soil as the caisson descends. The principle of the pneumatic caisson is applied to the sinking of large iron cylinders to serve as piers or land-shafts. Sometimes written caissoon.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Caisson kās′on a tumbril or ammunition wagon: a chest filled with explosive materials: a strong case for keeping out the water while the foundations of a bridge are being built: an apparatus for lifting a vessel out of the water for repairs or inspection: the pontoon or floating gate used to close a dry-dock.
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
F., fr. caisse, case, chest. See 1st Case
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Fr., from caisse, a case or chest. See Case.


In literature:

Military personnel also salute during the passing of a caisson or hearse in a military funeral.
"The Armed Forces Officer" by U. S. Department of Defense
Some of them were mounted, others were on foot, some on artillery caissons, and all full of fight.
"How Private George W. Peck Put Down The Rebellion or, The Funny Experiences of a Raw Recruit - 1887" by George W. Peck
A caisson used instead of gates for a dry-dock.
"The Sailor's Word-Book" by William Henry Smyth
The massive piers were sunk to the bed-rock by means of metal caissons.
"James B. Eads" by Louis How
The guns are so heavy that they each have eight horses to drag them, and the caissons have six.
"The Continental Monthly, Vol. 3 No 2, February 1863" by Various
Compressed air is used to work the sliding caissons which close the entrances of the docks and closed basin.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 8, Slice 3" by Various
The guns and caissons at the first uncritical glance looked like junk, but a second look revealed the error.
"The Note-Book of an Attache" by Eric Fisher Wood
Some of the men are fearfully burnt from the explosion of artillery caissons.
"Whitman" by John Burroughs
The explosion of a caisson was terrific.
"The Battle of Atlanta" by Grenville M. Dodge
Our horses were not very strong, and after they had dragged the guns and caissons about a mile, their strength was gone.
"Campaign of Battery D, First Rhode Island light artillery." by Ezra Knight Parker

In poetry:

I am a sleepless
Slowfaring eater,
Maker of rust and rot
In your bastioned fastenings,
Caissons deep.
"Under" by Carl Sandburg
Hour by hour the caissons reach down to the rock of the
earth and hold the building to a turning planet.
Hour by hour the girders play as ribs and reach out and
hold together the stone walls and floors.
"Skyscraper" by Carl Sandburg
Glory and honor and fame; the pomp that a soldier prizes;
The league-long waving line as the marching falls and rises;
Rumbling of caissons and guns; the clatter of horses' feet,
And a million awe-struck faces far down the waiting street.
"Sherman" by Richard Watson Gilder

In news:

Fincantieri awarded contract to build caissons for 'Costa Concordia' salvage operation.
(AP) — Joyce Johnson remembers the drums beating slowly as she walked with her girls from the Old Post Chapel, behind the horse-drawn caisson carrying the flag-draped casket of her husband.
Fort Myer Caisson Platoon has new mission.