Definition of broch in English:


Pronunciation /brɒx//brɒk/


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

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘To see Scotland's biggest broch involves a trip much further north to Shetland.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This is the site of a prehistoric fortification, or broch.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘‘They would have needed social stability’, he says, suggesting brochs were not watch towers or forts, but ‘ostentatious signs of status and wealth’.’
    • ‘From Shetland to the southern end of the Hebrides, the coastline was dotted with circular, tower-like structures, now referred to as brochs.’
    • ‘‘We used to have a ferry, inn, candleworks and Pictish brochs to bring people in,’ she said.’
    • ‘Particularly impressive examples occur in North Wales and Cornwall, while the brochs and duns of Scotland are monumental examples of roundhouses.’
    • ‘Indeed, mainland Scotland boasts some very unusual prehistoric fortifications, built like towers without mortar, and known as brochs.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There's a broch, Pictish stones and St Moluag's chapel, believed to be pre-Christian.’
    • ‘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.’


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