A strong, heavy grating sliding up and down in vertical grooves, lowered to block a gateway to a fortress or town.
More example sentences
- Unbroken, that is, except by the gate itself, with the heavy iron bars of the portcullis still lowered at this early hour.
- Erastus answered and the gate was lowered, the portcullis drawn up.
- The guard nodded to the old gatekeeper, who set to work hefting the chains that would raise the small portcullis that now blocked the way out into the city.
Middle English: from Old French porte coleice 'sliding door', from porte 'door' (from Latin porta) + coleice 'sliding' (feminine of couleis, from Latin colare 'to filter').
Definition of portcullis in:
- The British & World English dictionary