Definition of bulwark in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈbʊlwək/


1A defensive wall.
Example sentences
  • After landing virtually unopposed, the Fifth Corps moved toward the San Juan Heights, the principal bulwark in the first of three defensive lines around the city.
  • Trenches and low walls of earth braced with wooden beams zig-zagged their way across the fields to where Gulf troops laboured at raising bulwarks against rifle fire.
  • Even in wartime, the Israelite army was forbidden to cut down fruit trees, unless they were actually being used as bulwarks in defending against a siege.
wall, rampart, fortification, parapet, stockade, palisade, barricade, embankment, earthwork, breastwork, berm;
Latin vallum
rare circumvallation
1.1A person or thing that acts as a defence: the security forces are a bulwark against the breakdown of society
More example sentences
  • And a bold, well-communicated agenda provides a bulwark against politicians offering division rather than solutions.
  • Mainland authorities are banking on consumer spending to provide a bulwark against weaker capital investment and to broaden the economy's base of growth.
  • Israel calls it a bulwark against suicide bombers spearheading a Palestinian revolt, which is more than 5-years-old.
protector, protection, guard, defence, defender, support, supporter, prop, buttress, mainstay, bastion, safeguard, stronghold
2 (usually bulwarks) An extension of a ship’s sides above the level of the deck: the ships met, their crews lining the bulwarks
More example sentences
  • I met with some disaster, lost part of my bulwarks and main top gallant mast but by the blessing of God I was preserved and brought here in safety on the 17th of October…
  • There are substantial bulwarks around the side and forward decks for secure footing, and a large foredeck locker, with the anchors stowed on the bowsprit.
  • Next, fin along the bulwarks on the starboard side, down to deeper water.


Late Middle English: from Middle Low German and Middle Dutch bolwerk; related to bole1 and work.

  • boulevard from mid 18th century:

    The first boulevards referred to in English were in Paris, in the mid 18th century. They were wide avenues planted with trees, originally on the top of demolished fortifications. The word boulevard then meant ‘the horizontal portion of a rampart’ in French. It derives from the same German and Dutch word as bulwark (Late Middle English), and its elements are related to bole (ME from Old Norse), ‘the stem or trunk of a tree’, and work. The French boulevard also gave us the boulevardier, a person who frequented the boulevards, and so a wealthy, fashionable socialite, in the late 19th century.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: bul|wark

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