port·​cul·​lis | \pȯrt-ˈkə-ləs \

Definition of portcullis 

: a grating of iron hung over the gateway of a fortified place and lowered between grooves to prevent passage

Illustration of portcullis

Illustration of portcullis

Examples of portcullis in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The front door is often guarded with a metal portcullis. Ruth Bloomfield, WSJ, "European Castles: Easier to Buy Than You Might Think," 31 Aug. 2017

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

First Known Use of portcullis

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for portcullis

Middle English port colice, from Anglo-French porte coliz, literally, sliding door

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The first known use of portcullis was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of portcullis

: a heavy iron gate that can be raised or lowered at the entrance to a castle


port·​cul·​lis | \pȯrt-ˈkə-ləs \

Kids Definition of portcullis

: a heavy iron gate that can be lowered to prevent entrance (as to a castle)

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a private place of worship

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