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a. A projecting gallery at the top of a castle wall, supported by a row of corbels and having openings in the floor through which stones and boiling liquids could be dropped on attackers.
b. One of these openings.
2. A row of small projecting arches used as an ornamental architectural feature.


1. (Fortifications) (esp in medieval castles) a projecting gallery or parapet supported on corbels having openings through which missiles could be dropped
2. any such opening


(məˌtʃɪk əˈleɪ ʃən)

1. an opening in the floor between the corbels of a projecting gallery or parapet, through which missiles might be cast on an enemy below.
2. a gallery or parapet with such openings.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.machicolation - a projecting parapet supported by corbels on a medieval castlemachicolation - a projecting parapet supported by corbels on a medieval castle; has openings through which stones or boiling water could be dropped on an enemy
breastwork, parapet - fortification consisting of a low wall
References in periodicals archive ?
In the thirteenth century, Ayyubid and Mamluk princes commissioned the building of larger defence works, possibly in emulation of the crusaders, and they seem to have copied the latters' use of machicolation. How-ever, the fortifications they built seem usually to have been put up to defend themselves against each other, rather than being a response to a crusader challenge.
The battlemented parapets and projecting turrets look convincing enough from a distance; and there is even a machicolation gallery corbelled out to create the overhang necessary for missile holes.
It drew upon castles, cathedrals, cloisters, and skyscrapers: the quatrefoils in the towers and the arched entryway, with its tendrils, rosettes, shields, and flowered capitals; the vaulted ceiling and archways of the front hall and main staircase; gargoyles holding shields; the open loggia flanking the interior courts; and the machicolations and corbels above the entrance and below the top floor.
Wedyn y ramp enfawr o'r dref at y fynedfa gyntaf a wedyn y barbican a'r machicolations carreg wrth y fynedfa fewnol orllewinol, y machicolations cyntaf o'r fath ym Mhrydain.