Belfry

A military tower, pushed by besiegers against the wall of a besieged city, that missiles may be thrown more easily against the defenders. Probably a church steeple is called a belfry from its resemblance to these towers, and not because bells are hung in it. (French, beffroi, a watch-tower, Old French, berfreit, belefreit, from German, berg-frit, bergen, to protect, frit [vride], a place fenced in for security.)

Alone, and warming his five wits,
The white owl in the belfry sits.

Tennyson: The Owl, stanza 1.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

More on Belfry from Fact Monster:

  • Millau - Millau Millau , town (1990 pop. 22,458), Aveyron dept., S France, on the Tarn River. The center of ...
  • Dreux - Dreux Dreux , town (1990 pop. 35,866), Eure-et-Loir dept., N central France. It is an industrial ...
  • Abbeville, town, France - Abbeville Abbeville , town (1990 pop. 24,588), Somme dept., N France, in Picardy, on the Somme ...
  • Do Animals Have Personalities? - Do Animals Have Personalities? We don't know whether animals insult their enemies by calling ...
  • campanile - campanile campanile , Italian form of bell tower, constructed chiefly during the Middle Ages. Built ...

Related Content