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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.
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) (esp in medieval castles) a projecting gallery or parapet supported on corbels having openings through which missiles could be dropped
2. any such opening
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(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.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
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
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
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.
Building activities followed a design prototype of a series of fortified structures one above the other, providing successive lines of retreat, and protected by curtain walls with battlements, bastions, and a number of gates with machicolations on the main access route.