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A tower parapet with crenellation.

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(This etymology is missing or incomplete. Please add to it, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.) Ultimately from Latin crenella as a diminutive of crena (literally a notch or serration). The word also appears in Old French as cren (a notch) or crener (to notch). The word shares its origins with the common English word cranny, similarly meaning “a small opening, as in a wall or rock face; a crevice”.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˌkɹɛn.əlˈeɪ.ʃən/, /ˌkɹɛn.ɪˈleɪ.ʃən/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˌkɹɛn.əˈleɪ.ʃən/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪʃən


crenellation (countable and uncountable, plural crenellations)

  1. A pattern along the top of a parapet (fortified wall), most often in the form of multiple, regular, rectangular spaces in the top of the wall, through which arrows or other weaponry may be shot, especially as used in medieval European architecture.
    • 1922, Michael Arlen, “3/6/1”, in “Piracy”: A Romantic Chronicle of These Days[1]:
      This villa was long and low and white, and severe after its manner : for upon and about it were none of those playful ebullitions of taste, such as conical towers, domed roofs, embattlements, statues, coloured tiles and crenellations, such as are dear to architects of villas all the world over.
  2. The act of crenellating; adding a top row that looks like the top of a medieval castle.


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