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A tower or other fortification on the approach to a castle or town, especially one at a gate or drawbridge.

[Middle English, from Old French barbacane, from Medieval Latin barbacana, from Persian barbārkhān : barbār, guard (from Old Iranian *parivāraka-, protective; see wer- in Indo-European roots) + khān, house (from Middle Persian).]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


1. (Fortifications) a walled outwork or tower to protect a gate or drawbridge of a fortification
2. (Fortifications) a watchtower projecting from a fortification
[C13: from Old French barbacane, from Medieval Latin barbacana, of unknown origin]


(Placename) the Barbican a building complex in the City of London: includes residential developments and the Barbican Arts Centre (completed 1982) housing concert and exhibition halls, theatres, cinemas, etc
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈbɑr bɪ kən)

an outwork of a fortified place, esp. one facing or extending over a bridge or gate.
[1250–1300; Middle English < Old French]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


Fortifications protecting a draw-bridge, castle entrance, or fortified town gate.
Dictionary of Unfamiliar Words by Diagram Group Copyright © 2008 by Diagram Visual Information Limited
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.barbican - a tower that is part of a defensive structure (such as a castle)barbican - a tower that is part of a defensive structure (such as a castle)
tower - a structure taller than its diameter; can stand alone or be attached to a larger building
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


[ˈbɑːbɪkən] Nbarbacana f
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


nAußen- or Vorwerk nt; (= tower)Wachtturm m
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007
References in classic literature ?
"Come, Sir Mortimer!" cried the boy, and turning he led the prancing but subdued animal toward the castle and through the ruined barbican into the court beyond.
The little boy was filled with awe and his childish imagination ran riot as they approached the crumbling barbican on foot, leading the horse after them.
Sikes struck, by way of Chiswell Street, into Barbican: thence into Long Lane, and so into Smithfield; from which latter place arose a tumult of discordant sounds that filled Oliver Twist with amazement.
But the host withdrawing--probably to weep in secret--soon returned with the information that it wanted little more than an hour of day, and that all the cocks in Barbican had already begun to crow, as if their lives depended on it.
Half pausing for an instant now and then to smite his pocket and assure himself of the safety of his master key, he hurried on to Barbican, and turning into one of the narrowest of the narrow streets which diverged from that centre, slackened his pace and wiped his heated brow, as if the termination of his walk were near at hand.
It was repeated three times, with as much violence as if it had been blown before an enchanted castle by the destined knight, at whose summons halls and towers, barbican and battlement, were to roll off like a morning vapour.
The access, as usual in castles of the period, lay through an arched barbican, or outwork, which was terminated and defended by a small turret at each corner.
They had crossed Smithfield together, and Clennam was left alone at the corner of Barbican. He had no intention of presenting himself in his mother's dismal room that night, and could not have felt more depressed and cast away if he had been in a wilderness.
Bermuda-based insurer and re-insurer, Arch Capital Group Ltd, has said that its purchase of London-based Barbican Group Holdings Ltd would double its presence at Lloyd's of London.
(NASDAQ: ACGL) has agreed to acquire UK-based underwriting insurance provider Barbican Group Holdings Ltd.
[NASDAQ: ACGL] has entered into an agreement to purchase Barbican Group Holdings Limited ('Barbican') from funds managed by Carlson Capital, a U.S.-based alternative asset management firm, subject to regulatory approval.
Arch Capital to Acquire UK-Based Barbican Group Holdings