noun \ˈbel-frē\

: a tower or part of a tower where a bell or set of bells hangs

plural belfries

Full Definition of BELFRY

:  a bell tower; especially :  one surmounting or attached to another structure
:  a room or framework for enclosing a bell
:  head 2a <batty in the belfry>

Illustration of BELFRY

Origin of BELFRY

Middle English belfrey, berfrey, bell tower, siege tower, from Anglo-French *berfrei, *belfrei, of Germanic origin (akin to Middle High German bërvrit siege tower); akin to Old High German bergan to shelter and to Old English frith peace, refuge — more at bury
First Known Use: 15th century


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Bell tower, either freestanding or attached to another structure. More particularly it refers to the room, usually at the top of such a tower, where the bells and their supporting timberwork are hung. The belfry is a prominent feature of Belgian Gothic architecture, especially in Flanders. The Halles (Market Hall) and belfry in Brugge (late 13th century) is a typical example. The term derives from the medieval siege tower (berfrei), a tall wooden structure that could be rolled up to a fortification wall so that the warriors hidden inside could storm the battlements.


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