bulwark

1 of 2

noun

bul·​wark ˈbu̇l-(ˌ)wərk How to pronounce bulwark (audio)
-ˌwȯrk;
ˈbəl-(ˌ)wərk;
 sense 3 also  ˈbə-ˌläk
1
a
: a solid wall-like structure raised for defense : rampart
b
: breakwater, seawall
building a bulwark in the harbor
2
: a strong support or protection
democratic principles that stand as a bulwark against tyranny
a bulwark of freedom
3
nautical : the side of a ship above the upper deck
usually used in plural

bulwark

2 of 2

verb

bulwarked; bulwarking; bulwarks

transitive verb

: to fortify or safeguard with a bulwark
ability to bulwark a moral choiceMargaret Mead

Examples of bulwark in a Sentence

Noun democratic principles that stand as a bulwark against tyranny Verb vowed to use any means necessary to bulwark the country against a terrorist attack
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Biden has assiduously courted India as a bulwark against China, even though the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has curbed speech, harassed opposition leaders, fanned religious grievances, and allegedly killed dissidents abroad. Hal Brands, Foreign Affairs, 20 Feb. 2024 In some areas, a NYCHA campus is the most immovable bulwark against gentrification. Curbed, 9 Jan. 2024 Poland is rapidly establishing itself as the West’s bulwark in the east. Nr Editors, National Review, 15 Dec. 2023 India’s supreme court was created under the 1950 constitution to serve as a bulwark against the concentration of executive power and to shore up the country’s secular, democratic ideals. Vaibhav Vats, The Atlantic, 3 Feb. 2024 Onboard, a walkway protected by high bulwarks gives access to all areas. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 12 Dec. 2023 All three decks are fitted with glass bulwarks that create a more seamless connection to the sea. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 26 Jan. 2024 This dire view depends on every institutional bulwark of America’s system — from the courts to the military to public opinion — surrendering to a one-term president who, if history is any guide, will get rebuked in the midterms and become a lame duck by his third year in office. Rich Lowry, National Review, 3 Jan. 2024 In theory, the lists help act as a bulwark against wrongful convictions by preventing officers with troublesome track records from pushing for shoddy convictions. Josh Wood, The Courier-Journal, 10 Jan. 2024
Verb
That prompted senior sales agents to suggest that the traditional sales model, bulwarked on the strength of ancillary sales to TV in Europe, haS now broken. John Hopewell, Variety, 18 Nov. 2023 But this was probably the draft Chicago needed to bulwark a talent-deficient roster around QB Justin Fields – and don't forget the package from Carolina for the No. 1 pick also brought WR1 Moore, who's under contract for three more years. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, 30 Apr. 2023 The Arizona Cardinals, having traded down from the third pick to the 11th, then traded back up to the sixth pick, selecting Ohio State offensive tackle Paris Johnson Jr. to bulwark an offensive line ravaged by injuries in 2022. Mike Tanier, New York Times, 28 Apr. 2023 And bulwarking a defense that hasn't ranked better than 22nd since 2018 is long overdue. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, 24 Apr. 2023 Presidential blue-ribbon panels bulwarked the Social Security program in 1983 and overhauled NASA’s space shuttle program after the 1986 Challenger disaster. The Editors, Scientific American, 24 Feb. 2023 In other wildlife news, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife is hiring its first-ever beaver restoration unit, which will work with beavers to help bulwark natural systems against climate change, Nathan Solis writes. Sammy Rothstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 15 Sep. 2022 The goal is to bulwark oil and gas against ambitious climate change policies by claiming the moral high ground — even as those fuels kindle a global crisis that disproportionately harms people who aren’t white. Los Angeles Times, 24 Nov. 2020 The company is hoping to bulwark itself in an uncertain economy. Lucinda Shen, Fortune, 4 May 2020 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'bulwark.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun and Verb

Middle English bulwerke, from Middle Dutch bolwerc, from bolle tree trunk + werc work

First Known Use

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of bulwark was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near bulwark

Cite this Entry

“Bulwark.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bulwark. Accessed 3 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

bulwark

noun
bul·​wark
ˈbu̇l-(ˌ)wərk,
-ˌwȯrk;
ˈbəl-(ˌ)wərk
1
: a solid structure like a wall built for defense
2
: a strong support or protection
3
: the side of a ship above the upper deck
usually used in plural
Etymology

Noun

Middle English bulwerke "bulwark," from early Dutch bolwerc (same meaning) — related to boulevard

More from Merriam-Webster on bulwark

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!