Definition of motte in English:



  • A mound forming the site of a castle or camp.

    • ‘Many mottes in later twelfth-century Galloway were the work of the lords of Galloway, as they sought to resist the advance of the Scottish kings and their Anglo-Norman circle.’
    • ‘That Edward's fortress incorporated the motte of an earlier Norman castle indicates that here castle-building actually signified a re-conquest of territory.’
    • ‘Design modifications in the 12th century included stone tower keeps to replace the motte.’
    • ‘Modern steps curve up the side of the motte (the castle mound), one of the largest in the country.’
    • ‘The motte stands at the north-east corner of a square, subdivided bailey, the inner portion of which is partly walled and has a gate.’
    • ‘The Archbishop said the site was a conservation area in the centre of an historic city, below a tower which was a scheduled ancient monument and which was built on a motte created by William the Conqueror.’
    • ‘The Norman castle motte known as Twt Hill probably overlies the site of the palace constructed by Llywelyn ap Seisyll in 1015.’
    barrow, tumulus
    View synonyms


Late 19th century: from French, ‘mound’, from Old French mote (see moat).