What does portcullis mean?

Definitions for portcullis
pɔrtˈkʌl ɪs, poʊrt-portcullis

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word portcullis.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. portcullisnoun

    gate consisting of an iron or wooden grating that hangs in the entry to a castle or fortified town; can be lowered to prevent passage


  1. portcullisnoun

    A gate in the form of a grating which is lowered into place at the entrance to a castle, fort, etc.

  2. Etymology: From porte coliz and porte coulëice, from porte + feminine of colëis, from couler.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Portcullis, Portclusenoun

    A sort of machine like a harrow, hung over the gates of a city, to be let down to keep out an enemy.

    Etymology: portecoulisse, Fr. quasi porta clausa.

    Over it a fair portcullis hong,
    Which to the gate directly did incline,
    With comely compass and compacture strong,
    Neither unseemly short, nor yet exceeding long. F. Qu.

    The cannon against St. Stephen’s gate executed so well, that the portcullis and gate were broken, and entry opened into the city. John Hayward.

    She the huge portcullis high up drew,
    Which but herself, not all the Stygian pow’rs
    Cou’d once have mov’d. John Milton.

    Pyrrhus comes, neither men nor walls
    His force sustain, the torn portcullis falls. John Denham.

    The upper eyelid claps down, and is as good a fence as a portcullis against the importunity of the enemy. More.

    The gates are opened, the portcullis drawn;
    And deluges of armies from the town
    Come pouring in. Dryden.

  2. To Portcullisverb

    To bar; to shut up.

    Etymology: from the noun.

    Within my mouth you have engaol’d my tongue,
    Doubly portcullis’d with my teeth and lips. William Shakespeare.


  1. Portcullis

    A portcullis (from Old French porte coleice, "sliding gate") is a heavy vertically-closing gate typically found in medieval fortifications, consisting of a latticed grille made of wood, metal, or a combination of the two, which slides down grooves inset within each jamb of the gateway.


  1. portcullis

    A portcullis is a heavy, vertically-closing gate typically found in medieval fortifications such as castles or towers. It's often made of wood or metal, with a grid or lattice design that allows guards to see through and potentially attack invaders while remaining protected. The portcullis is usually raised or lowered using chains or ropes connected to an internal winch system. It is primarily used for security and defense purposes.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Portcullisnoun

    a grating of iron or of timbers pointed with iron, hung over the gateway of a fortress, to be let down to prevent the entrance of an enemy

  2. Portcullisnoun

    an English coin of the reign of Elizabeth, struck for the use of the East India Company; -- so called from its bearing the figure of a portcullis on the reverse

  3. Portcullisverb

    to obstruct with, or as with, a portcullis; to shut; to bar

  4. Etymology: [OF. porte coulisse, colece, a sliding door, fr. L. colare, colatum, to filter, to strain: cf. F. couler to glide. See Port a gate, and cf. Cullis, Colander.]


  1. Portcullis

    A portcullis is a latticed grille made of wood, metal or a combination of the two. Portcullises fortified the entrances to many medieval castles, securely closing off the castle during time of attack or siege. Each portcullis was mounted in vertical grooves in castle walls and could be raised or lowered quickly by means of chains or ropes attached to an internal winch. There would often be two portcullises to the main entrance. The one closer to the inside would be closed first and then the one farther away. This was used to trap the enemy and often, burning wood or fire-heated sand would be dropped onto them from the roof or murder-holes. Hot oil, however, was not commonly used in this manner, contrary to popular belief, since oil was extremely expensive. There were often arrowslits in the sides of the walls, enabling archers and crossbowmen to eliminate the trapped group of attackers. In England, working portcullises survive at the Tower of London, Monk Bar in York, Amberley Castle and Hever Castle.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Portcullis

    pōrt-kul′is, n. a sliding door of cross timbers pointed with iron, hung over a gateway, so as to be let down in a moment to keep out an enemy: (her.) a lattice: one of the pursuivants of the English College of Heralds: an Elizabethan coin bearing a portcullis on the reverse.—v.t. to obstruct, as with a portcullis. [O. Fr. portecoulisseporte, a gate, coulisse, a groove—L. colāre, to strain.]

The Nuttall Encyclopedia

  1. Portcullis

    a strong grating resembling a harrow hanging over the gateway of a fortress, let down in a groove of the wall in the case of a surprise.

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. portcullis

    A heavy frame of wooden or iron bars, sliding in vertical grooves within the masonry over the gateway of a fortified town, to be lowered for barring the passage. When hastily made, it was termed a sarrazine.

Military Dictionary and Gazetteer

  1. portcullis

    Is an assemblage of several large pieces of wood, joined across one another like a harrow, and each pointed with iron at the bottom. They are sometimes suspended over the gateway of old fortified towns and castles, ready to be let down in the case of surprise, when the gates cannot be shut.

  2. portcullis

    In heraldry, the portcullis is represented with rings at its uppermost angles, from which chains depend on either side. It was a badge of the Beaufort family, and borne in virtue of their Beaufort descent by their Tudor sovereigns. Portcullis is the title of one of the pursuviants belonging to the English College of Arms, whose office was instituted by Henry VII.

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How to pronounce portcullis?

How to say portcullis in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of portcullis in Chaldean Numerology is: 4

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of portcullis in Pythagorean Numerology is: 1

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"portcullis." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 15 Jun 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/portcullis>.

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