Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A wall or embankment raised as a defensive fortification; a rampart.
  • n. Something serving as a defense or safeguard: "We have seen the necessity of the Union, as our bulwark against foreign danger” ( James Madison).
  • n. A breakwater.
  • n. The part of a ship's side that is above the upper deck. Often used in the plural.
  • transitive v. To fortify with a wall, embankment, or rampart.
  • transitive v. To provide defense or protection for.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A defensive wall or rampart.
  • n. A defense or safeguard.
  • n. A breakwater.
  • n. The planking or plating along the sides of a nautical vessel above her gunwale that reduces the likelihood of seas washing over the gunwales and people being washed overboard.
  • v. To fortify something with a wall or rampart.
  • v. To provide protection of defense for something.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A rampart; a fortification; a bastion or outwork.
  • n. That which secures against an enemy, or defends from attack; any means of defense or protection.
  • n. The sides of a ship above the upper deck, usually a fencelike structure around the deck.
  • transitive v. To fortify with, or as with, a rampart or wall; to secure by fortification; to protect.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Originally, a barrier formed of logs, beams, boards, hurdles, or other materials, for the obstruction of a passage or defense of a place; now, specifically, in fortification, a rampart; a mound of earth carried around a place, capable of resisting cannon-shot, and formed with bastions, curtains, etc.; a fortification.
  • n. Nautical, a close barrier running around a ship or a part of it, above the level of the deck, and consisting of boarding nailed on the outside of the stanchions and timber-heads.
  • n. That which protects or secures against external annoyance or injury of any kind; a screen or shelter; means of protection and safety.
  • n. plural Pads or defenses to protect the limbs against the chafing of armor. Wright.
  • To fortify with a bulwark or rampart; secure by a fortification; protect.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an embankment built around a space for defensive purposes
  • v. defend with a bulwark
  • n. a fencelike structure around a deck (usually plural)
  • n. a protective structure of stone or concrete; extends from shore into the water to prevent a beach from washing away

Etymologies

Middle English bulwerk, from Middle Dutch bolwerk, from Middle High German bolwerc : bole, plank; see bhel-2 in Indo-European roots + werc, work (from Old High German; see werg- in Indo-European roots).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle High German, cognate with German Bollwerk, Danish bolværk, Dutch bolwerk. The first part is akin to bole ("trunk of a tree"). Cognates include boulevard (from French boulevard, from Dutch), Spanish baluarte and Italian baluardo. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Whether this new Iraqi government — the one that will stand as American forces are withdrawn — will be a long-term bulwark is a question that can only be answered over time, of course.

    Biden Grows Optimistic About Iraq

  • Depending on what it says, that report will either serve as a short-term bulwark against Democratic calls for withdrawal or will make withdrawal a politically unstoppable force.

    Will Ambassador Crocker Undercut Petraeus -- And Give Antiwar Movement Big Boost -- Come September?

  • Darcy and Mike: You know, it's interesting that, for all the checks and balances in the Constitution, what may actually be the most important bulwark is something as simple as term limits.

    Witches can be right, giants can be good

  • A credible election will also restore the faith of the people of Pakistan in the democratic process which is likely to be the best medium - to long-term bulwark against extremism.

    Is Committing Crimes Right Of Rulers?

  • The League of Nations can now restore its falling prestige by performing that inherent function, but it is as yet the main bulwark of the Treaty of Versailles.

    The Goat and the Vine

  • The palace has become a sieve, and the southern bulwark is destroyed; that part of the portal which looks towards the Monterilla is ruined; the finest buildings in the centre have suffered a great deal; innumerable houses at great distances from it have been also much injured by stray balls.

    Life in Mexico, During a Residence of Two Years in That Country

  • Whether this new Iraqi government-the one that will stand as American forces are withdrawn-will be a long-term bulwark is a question that can only be answered over time, of course.

    WSJ.com: What's News US

  • That's less odious than the idea of a blanket distrust of any Arabic company, but in reality we do business in sensitive areas -- namely banking -- with lots of foreign countries like China, which can hardly be called the bulwark of capitalism, and there are very few corporations in America that do not have some component of foreign ownership.

    February 2006

  • Stunted by their hatred, imprisoned in their lives, even terrorists understand as we understand that unfettered speech and open inquiry are the bedrock upon which freedom stands; what George Mason called the bulwark of liberty, and Thomas Jefferson included in the creed of our political faith, the text of our civil instruction that touched on by which we try the services of those we trust.

    CNN Transcript Mar 14, 2002

  • A bulwark is a hospital hotel protection punishment purchase 64 65

    Stanford Achievement Test, Ed. 1922 Advanced Examination, Form A, for Grades 4-8

Comments

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  • Bam to behold, a public bulletin board, built of both brilliance and barbarity by bastards with boners. This bastion, no mere bulwark of boredom, is a brutal barrage of blistering bullshit, barely benevolent... but behind the bigotry and boobs, beyond the bitter broadcasts of bragging buffoons: here be the body politic. A brotherhood of blasphemy, blessed with more balls than brains, battling the bland, the bogus, the benign. Bedlam? Bring it on. But I babble... better to be brief.
    You may call me /b/.

    March 18, 2011

  • True compassion is a bulwark of strong families and communities, of liberty and self-reliance, while the false compassion of the second usage is fraught with great danger and dubious results.

    December 22, 2010

  • In shipbuilding, a barrier of stiffened plating at the outboard edge of the main or upper deck for preventing or inhibiting entry of the sea. Bulwarks may also be used at the forward edges of superstructure decks in lieu of safety railings as a barrier to wind and spray.

    August 21, 2009