cit·​a·​del | \ ˈsi-tə-dᵊl, -ˌdel\

Definition of citadel

1 : a fortress that commands (see command entry 1 sense 2c) a city
2 : stronghold the nation's citadel of health research— Constance Holden a citadel of higher education

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Examples of citadel in a Sentence

We visited a medieval citadel in Italy. a massive stone citadel continues to command the city of Halifax, Nova Scotia

Recent Examples on the Web

The citadel is protected by walls that are over 25 feet tall, and there is a large artificial reservoir that looks like an Olympic swimming pool. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "What 61,000 hidden structures reveal about Maya civilization," 28 Sep. 2018 The British built elaborate fortifications to protect the garrison and citizenry, and renamed York Castle as their citadel. Hamish Bowles, Vogue, "An Exhibition in Tangier Pays Tribute to Design World Darling Charles Sevigny," 3 Aug. 2018 The most curious travelers should start at the 26-foot-high laterite wall that surrounds the citadel, oft ignored by most visitors. Lester V. Ledesma, Condé Nast Traveler, "Beyond the Crowds of Angkor, Cambodia," 12 Apr. 2018 The name is short for Strategically Armored & Fortified Environments, and there are plenty of examples throughout the four-story citadel. Jack Flemming,, "Modern-day supervillain fortress in Hollywood Hills finds its next Lex Luthor," 29 May 2018 Like many of the towns that dot this stretch of shoreline, its dominant features are a medieval old quarter surmounted by an hulking stone citadel and a harbor crammed with luxury yachts. New York Times, "Beautiful People in European Villas: a Film Genre of Its Own," 15 May 2018 In the former Incan capital of Cuzco, Peru, a few thousand mainly foreign tourists paid upward of $160 for a grandstand seat to watch hundreds of actors re-enact a llama sacrifice at an ancient citadel. Washington Post, "AP PHOTOS: Incan festival pays homage to sun across Andes," 25 June 2018 But with the Carters and a dance troupe taking over the Louvre’s palatial spaces, the video also places an unapologetic, physical black presence in a citadel of European culture. Jon Pareles, New York Times, "Beyoncé and Jay-Z: The State of the Union Is Strong," 17 June 2018 Below the citadel, the ruins stretch to the horizon. The Economist, "How a victorious Bashar al-Assad is changing Syria," 28 June 2018

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

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First Known Use of citadel

1542, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for citadel

Middle French citadelle, from Old Italian cittadella, diminutive of cittade city, from Medieval Latin civitat-, civitas — more at city

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Statistics for citadel

Last Updated

19 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for citadel

The first known use of citadel was in 1542

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More Definitions for citadel



English Language Learners Definition of citadel

: a castle or fort that in past times was used to protect the people of a city if the city was attacked


cit·​a·​del | \ ˈsi-tə-dᵊl, -ˌdel\

Kids Definition of citadel

: a fortress that sits high above a city

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Comments on citadel

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


tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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