One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A fixed armoured housing at the base of a gun turret on a warship or armoured vehicle.
- ‘Several crews just locked the barbettes in a fixed, rear-firing position.’
- ‘Our picture shows the 76 mm gun barbette on one of the tanks.’
- ‘Dropping down to the seabed, the smaller barbettes and guns could be seen, and huge 13.5in projectiles lay scattered on the sand.’
- ‘The main 76 mm gun was carried in a barbette on the right side of the hull, with a turret above carrying a smaller 37 mm gun.’
- 1.1historical A platform on which a gun was placed to fire over a parapet.
- ‘In the 1890s the barbette mounting for coastal-defense guns became the preferred pattern.’
- ‘In the interior was a shed for a guard room, and a small magazine under the barbette platform.’
- ‘The barbette mounted the gun on a pivot so that it could fire over a parapet.’
Late 18th century: from French, diminutive of barbe ‘beard’ (see barb).
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