rampart

If you are building a sand castle and want it to be extra realistic, don’t forget the rampart. This protective wall may not keep the ocean away, but it might intimidate a few hostile hermit crabs.

This noun is derived from the French verb remparer, meaning “to fortify,” and dates back to the 16th century. This usually refers to a large defensive wall surrounding a castle, but can be a barrier built along a road or an embankment constructed alongside a river. This word is famously used in the lyrics of "The Star-Spangled Banner," the national anthem of the United States: “O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming...”

Definitions of rampart
  1. noun
    an embankment built around a space for defensive purposes
    “they stormed the ramparts of the city”
    synonyms: bulwark, wall
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    examples:
    Antonine Wall
    a fortification 37 miles long across the narrowest part of southern Scotland (between the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde); built in 140 to mark the frontier of the Roman province of Britain
    Great Wall of China
    a fortification 1,500 miles long built across northern China in the 3rd century BC; it averages 6 meters in width
    types:
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    bailey
    the outer defensive wall that surrounds the outer courtyard of a castle
    battlement, crenelation, crenellation
    a rampart built around the top of a castle with regular gaps for firing arrows or guns
    earthwork
    an earthen rampart
    fraise
    sloping or horizontal rampart of pointed stakes
    merlon
    a solid section between two crenels in a crenelated battlement
    sconce
    a small fort or earthwork defending a ford, pass, or castle gate
    type of:
    embankment
    a long artificial mound of stone or earth; built to hold back water or to support a road or as protection
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