Share this entry

castle Syllabification: cas·tle
Pronunciation: /ˈkasəl/

Definition of castle in English:


1A large building or group of buildings fortified against attack with thick walls, battlements, towers, and in many cases a moat.
Example sentences
  • Here, you can see stone cannon balls built into the castle walls, defensive battlements and interior living quarters.
  • I sat in the guard barracks in the outer wall of the castle battlements.
  • THE 5ft-thick walls of a medieval castle have seen the light of day again after centuries buried underground.
1.1A magnificent and imposing mansion, especially one that is the home or former home of a member of the nobility: [in names]: Castle Howard
More example sentences
  • Castle Howard is the property of the Howard family, while Harewood House and Burton Constable belong to trusts.
  • The real Grace Nugent been a near neighbor, living at Castle Nugent four miles north of Edgeworthstown.
  • Hopefully soon they would catch up to Ian's caravan, and would return to castle Laramont with Rana.
1.2 Chess , informal old-fashioned term for rook2.


[no object] (often as noun castling) Chess Back to top  
1Make a special move (no more than once in a game by each player) in which the king is transferred from its original square two squares along the back rank toward the corner square of a rook, which is then transferred to the square passed over by the king.
Example sentences
  • Also, he would like to clear the back rank before he castles to give his Rooks greater maneuverability.
  • At this point I think Black could simply castle when once again I see nothing wrong with his position.
  • And White lost more than a tempo, more like two or three since it took five bishop and knight moves to make the captures and Black did not lose a tempo with castling and only made two capturing moves with his rook and king.
1.1 [with object] Move (the king) by castling.
Example sentences
  • ‘He's just a crybaby if you ask me,’ the other spat as he castled his king.
  • If White's King was castled, then 4.Nxd6 would be equal.
  • But if the kings are castled on opposite sides and the half-open file bears down on the enemy king, it's a big plus and can easily offset even doubled isolated pawns.


Late Old English: from Anglo-Norman French and Old Northern French castel, from Latin castellum, diminutive of castrum 'fort'.

  • Castle goes back to Latin castellum, ‘little fort’ from castrum ‘fort’. To build castles in the air is to have daydreams or unrealistic fantasies. It comes from a Latin phrase used by St Augustine, who became bishop of Hippo in North Africa in ad 396. Another version, originally a translation from medieval French, is to build castles in Spain. This country was probably chosen because it was a distant place where it would have been extremely unrealistic to build—most of it was under the rule of the Moors at the time the phrase was first used in French.


castles in the air (or in Spain)

Visionary unattainable schemes; daydreams: my father built castles in the air about owning a boat
More example sentences
  • The neurotic is the type of person who's continuously building dream castles in the air.
  • Please tell him just to gently post the mail into the box I have so willingly provided, and then tell him to be on his way, to beat his path away from my dreamy semi-consciousness, and leave me to my somnolence, my reverie of castles in the air.
  • if you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. now put the foundations under them.



Pronunciation: /ˈkasəld/
( archaic )
Example sentences
  • Each of the worlds that you fly in are unique, from barren wastelands and deserts to a castled city to flying through ice caverns or a volcano.

Words that rhyme with castle

metatarsal, parcel, tarsal

Definition of castle in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day haughty
Pronunciation: ˈhɔːti
arrogantly superior and disdainful