One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The outer wall of a ditch in a fortification.
- ‘Belfort was fortified by the military architect Vauban, who created an elaborate system of towers, casemates, curtains and counterscarps.’
- ‘The castle had recently been rebuilt with ramparts and counterscarps, and its capture cost the Spanish thousands of troops.’
- ‘The rampart wall was found to be encircled by at least two deep ditches, and possibly three, with counterscarps between tern.’
- ‘The entry postern, which ran the width of the counterscarp, opened up into the dry ditch.’
- ‘Gates were always specially protected and designed, built as guarded approaches, deafened by earth and water, scarps, counterscarps, moats.’
Late 16th century: from French contrescarpe, from Italian controscarpa; compare with scarp.
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