Advertisement

barbican (n.)

"outer fortification of a city or castle," mid-13c., from Old French barbacane "exterior fortification" (12c.), a general Romanic word, said to be ultimately from Arabic or Persian (compare bab-khanah "gate-house"); according to Watkins from Old Iranian compound *pari-varaka-, from *pari- "around" (from PIE root *per- (1) "forward," hence "in front of, around") + *varaka-, from PIE root *wer- (4) "to cover."