Definition of portcullis in English:

portcullis

noun

  • A strong, heavy grating that can be lowered down grooves on each side of a gateway to block it.

    • ‘Erastus answered and the gate was lowered, the portcullis drawn up.’
    • ‘The gateway into the courtyard had been closed off by a portcullis, guarded by guards bristling with weapons.’
    • ‘In addition, a medieval style archway will be put up across Churchgate from January 11 until January 25 and it will be built complete with turrets, a portcullis and arrow slits.’
    • ‘The iron portcullis was slowly lowered down, but she saw no one in sight.’
    • ‘Sticking his head down through the entrance, he saw the portcullis was up and he wondered how to lower it.’
    • ‘I heartily approve of the Civic Trust's proposal to lower the portcullis at Bootham Bar.’
    • ‘I panicked, and scrambled to the back of the wagon again as the portcullis lifted to admit us to the courtyard.’
    • ‘The massively arched door, in the style of a portcullis, is defended on either side by rampant lions, petrified in mid-snarl.’
    • ‘Unbroken, that is, except by the gate itself, with the heavy iron bars of the portcullis still lowered at this early hour.’
    • ‘He paused before passing through the first gate and into the short passageway between the entrance to the fortress and the inner portcullis.’
    • ‘The guard nodded to the old gatekeeper, who set to work hefting the chains that would raise the small portcullis that now blocked the way out into the city.’
    • ‘Slots along their sides show that there were originally portcullises, whilst the sockets for the doors are still clearly visible.’
    • ‘The gateway was equipped with a portcullis, but it was raised and the entry was protected only by a light, almost ornamental iron lattice.’
    • ‘To create a medieval feel, the towers will have arrow slits and cars will be able to drive under the archway beneath a raised portcullis.’
    • ‘The way across into the first circle was a stone and cobbled bridge, arched by stone and wood semi-circles and blocked by a huge portcullis.’
    • ‘They passed by the main gateway, which consisted of portcullises and a drawbridge that stood between two massive towers, each with projecting becs.’
    • ‘Visitors to the Richard III Museum are still able to operate the portcullis's mechanism, and it could be lowered if necessary.’
    • ‘Impressive, but all the buildings have a bit of castle in them - a turret here, a portcullis there.’
    • ‘Monk Bar was built in the 14th century and is the tallest gateway, with a portcullis still in working order.’
    • ‘The approach would have been hard to breach, with the long, narrow entrance passage defended, in addition to gates, portcullises, two drawbridges, and ‘murder holes’, by fire from triple battlements.’

Origin

Middle English: from Old French porte coleice ‘sliding door’, from porte ‘door’ (from Latin porta) + coleice ‘sliding’ (feminine of couleis, from Latin colare ‘to filter’).

Pronunciation

portcullis

/pɔːtˈkʌlɪs/