Definitions for battering ram

This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word battering ram

Random House Webster's College Dictionary

bat′tering ram`(n.)

  1. an ancient military device with a heavy horizontal ram for battering down walls, gates, etc.

    Category: Military

  2. any similar devices used in demolition, to force entrance to a building, etc.

    Category: Common Vocabulary

Origin of battering ram:


Princeton's WordNet

  1. battering ram(noun)

    a ram used to break down doors of fortified buildings


  1. battering ram(Noun)

    A heavy object used for battering down walls and gates before gunpowder was known.

  2. Origin: The heads of some battering rams were carved in the shape of a ram, an animal renowned for butting with its head.


  1. Battering ram

    A battering ram is a siege engine originating in ancient times and designed to break open the masonry walls of fortifications or splinter their wooden gates. In its simplest form, a battering ram is just a large, heavy log carried by several people and propelled with force against an obstacle; the ram would be sufficient to damage the target if the log was massive enough and/or it were moved quickly enough. Later rams encased the log in an arrow-proof, fire-resistant canopy mounted on wheels. Inside the canopy, the log was swung from suspensory chains or ropes. Rams proved effective weapons of war because old fashioned wall-building materials such as stone and brick were weak in tension, and therefore prone to cracking when impacted with sufficient force. With repeated blows, the cracks would grow steadily until a hole was created. Eventually, a breach would appear in the fabric of the wall—enabling armed attackers to force their way through the gap and engage the inhabitants of the citadel. The introduction in the later Middle Ages of siege cannons, which harnessed the explosive power of gunpowder to propel weighty stone or iron balls against fortified obstacles, spelled the end of battering rams and other traditional siege weapons. Much smaller, hand-held versions of battering rams are still used today, however, by law enforcement officers and military personnel to bash open locked doors.


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