bulwark

noun
bul·​wark | \ ˈbu̇l-(ˌ)wərk, -ˌwȯrk; ˈbəl-(ˌ)wərk; sense 3 also ˈbə-ˌläk\

Definition of bulwark

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : 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

verb
bulwarked; bulwarking; bulwarks

Definition of bulwark (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to fortify or safeguard with a bulwark ability to bulwark a moral choice— Margaret Mead

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for bulwark

Synonyms: Verb

cover, defend, fence, fend, forfend, guard, keep, protect, safeguard, screen, secure, shield, ward

Antonyms: Verb

assail, assault, attack

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 agai nst a terrorist attack

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The bulwark against this technology may in fact lay in the courts. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Can Anyone Stop Our Slide into Face-Scanning Dystopia?," 9 Nov. 2018 All three joined the European Union and NATO in 2004 and are strong backers of the military alliance, which sees them as a bulwark against Russian incursions in Eastern Europe. Nicole Winfield And Maria Grazia Murru, Fox News, "Pope begins Baltics pilgrimage as Russia threat looms large," 22 Sep. 2018 For the vast majority of the US government, Eastern Europe is still a region with irreplaceable strategic importance to American interests and is America’s main bulwark against westward Russian expansion. Michal Kranz, Vox, "Why Eastern European countries aren’t attacking Trump over NATO," 26 July 2018 Emissions from the fires were contributing to global warming, it was feared, and the harvesting of wood for cooking was helping to diminish forests, one of nature’s carbon-absorbing bulwarks against greenhouse gases. Sara Morrison, USA TODAY, "In developing world, an expensive push to reduce cooking fire deaths falls short," 13 July 2018 In doing so, Mr. Cuomo, who faces a re-election primary battle in September, continues to position himself as a liberal bulwark to the Trump administration. Jesse Mckinley, New York Times, "As Cuomo Rallies for Abortion Rights, Nixon Questions His Bona Fides," 10 July 2018 As companies deploy encryption and other bulwarks against government prying, law enforcement authorities have grown increasingly frustrated. Jon Schuppe /, NBC News, "The cat-and-mouse fight to fix — and exploit — iPhone's security flaws," 15 June 2018 The party sprang not from trade unions but from elites desperate to establish a bulwark against communism after the end of military rule in the mid-1970s. The Economist, "Social democracy is floundering everywhere in Europe, except Portugal," 12 Apr. 2018 Some supply chains may need to be rerouted away from China, although such interdependence is one bulwark against conflict. Richard N. Haass, WSJ, "The Crisis in U.S.-China Relations," 19 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Even Einstein, the prototypical loner, was bulwarked by a vast correspondence of arguing and discussion. Dennis Overbye, New York Times, "Bob Dylan Won. But in Science, the Times They Aren’t A-Changin’.," 31 Oct. 2016

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bulwark.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of bulwark

Noun

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

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for bulwark

Noun and Verb

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about bulwark

Dictionary Entries near bulwark

bulto

bultow

Bulu

bulwark

bulwark plating

Bulwer

Bulwer's petrel

Statistics for bulwark

Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for bulwark

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for bulwark

bulwark

noun

English Language Learners Definition of bulwark

: something that provides protection for or against something

: a wall that is built for protection

: a wall that is part of a ship's sides and that is above the ship's upper deck

bulwark

noun
bul·​wark | \ ˈbu̇l-wərk \

Kids Definition of bulwark

1 : a solid structure like a wall built for defense against an enemy
2 : something that defends or protects

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on bulwark

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bulwark

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bulwark

Spanish Central: Translation of bulwark

Nglish: Translation of bulwark for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bulwark for Arabic Speakers

Comments on bulwark

What made you want to look up bulwark? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

marked by shyness and lack of polish

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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