motte and bailey


: a medieval Norman castle consisting of two connecting ditched stockaded mounds with the higher mound surmounted by the keep and the lower one containing barracks and other buildings

Examples of motte and bailey in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Stepping onto the nine-acre estate of the Norman motte and bailey structure, which was built by Robert, Count of Mortain, in 1068 following the Battle of Hastings, they were instantly charmed. New York Times, 11 May 2022

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

Word History

First Known Use

1900, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of motte and bailey was in 1900

Dictionary Entries Near motte and bailey

Cite this Entry

“Motte and bailey.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jun. 2024.

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