terreplein was our Word of the Day on 10/04/2009. Hear the podcast!
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Did You Know?
Like parapet and rampart, terreplein dates back to the 16th century. Rampart is the oldest of this trio; earliest evidence of the word in English is from 1536. From the Middle French word ramparer, meaning "to fortify," it refers specifically to the broad embankment that forms the main part of a fort. The word for the protective wall on top of the rampart, parapet, dates to 1590 and comes from Italian parare ("to shield") and petto ("chest"). The earliest evidence for terreplein is from only a year later. It comes (by way of Middle French) from Old Italian terrapieno, which traces to Medieval Latin terra plenus, meaning "filled with earth."
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