Definition of broch in English:


Pronunciation /brɒx//brɒk/


  • A prehistoric circular stone tower in north Scotland and adjacent islands.

    • ‘Particularly impressive examples occur in North Wales and Cornwall, while the brochs and duns of Scotland are monumental examples of roundhouses.’
    • ‘The early Norse settlers built their farmhouse close to the ruins of the old broch, which doubtless served as a handy source of good stone.’
    • ‘This is the site of a prehistoric fortification, or broch.’
    • ‘To see Scotland's biggest broch involves a trip much further north to Shetland.’
    • ‘Subsequent activities were a visit to the abandoned Clearance Village at Badbea, a stone broch at Carn Liath, and the contentious statue of the Duke of Sutherland that dominates the area from atop Ben Bhraggie.’
    • ‘‘We used to have a ferry, inn, candleworks and Pictish brochs to bring people in,’ she said.’
    • ‘There's a broch, Pictish stones and St Moluag's chapel, believed to be pre-Christian.’
    • ‘Then we climbed into a nearby 2,000-year-old broch, a multistory stone fortress with double wails and one of best preserved from the pre-Viking era.’
    • ‘The new dates imply that Scatness was one of the earliest true brochs - that is, multi-storey stone tower houses with a staircase running between the inner and outer walls.’
    • ‘Indeed, mainland Scotland boasts some very unusual prehistoric fortifications, built like towers without mortar, and known as brochs.’
    • ‘‘They would have needed social stability’, he says, suggesting brochs were not watch towers or forts, but ‘ostentatious signs of status and wealth’.’
    • ‘Skara Brae is a well-preserved prehistoric village, Maes Howe the best of a series of impressive prehistoric burial cairns, and numerous brochs and settlements attest to the islands' Pictish and Viking periods.’
    • ‘From Shetland to the southern end of the Hebrides, the coastline was dotted with circular, tower-like structures, now referred to as brochs.’
    • ‘There had been no datable finds from the first excavation, but the quality of stonework was so good that the excavators thought the buildings must be contemporary with brochs.’


Late 15th century: alteration of burgh (the original sense). The current sense dates from the mid 17th century.