Definition of Martello in English:


(also Martello tower)


  • Any of numerous small circular forts that were erected for defense purposes along the southeast coasts of England during the Napoleonic Wars.

    • ‘We encountered many of them during the walk, along with the plethora of round Martello tower fortifications and Jersey's impressive castles.’
    • ‘The government hoped to defend the mainland by fortifying the coast with Martello towers, embodying the Militia (the home defence force), and extending the Militia Acts to Scotland and Ireland.’
    • ‘There is a picnic area by the Martello tower and a stepped access to the lower promenade.’
    • ‘Beginning at a Martello Tower just outside Folkestone, Nicholas reveals that 74 such towers were built in the early years of the 19th century to defend us against Napoleon Bonaparte, who had already overrun most of Europe.’
    • ‘Visitors can learn about the pirates of the area, the Martello towers and more current information on fishing in the area.’


Alteration (by association with Italian martello hammer) of Cape Mortella in Corsica, where such a tower proved difficult for the English to capture in 1794.