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embrasures in Flodden Tower, Edinburgh


From Middle French embrasure.


  • IPA(key): /ɪmˈbɹeɪʒə(ɹ)/
  • (file)


embrasure (plural embrasures)

  1. (architecture, military) Any of the indentations between the merlons of a battlement; an opening in a wall or parapet through which ordnance can be fired.
    • 1938 April, George Orwell [pseudonym; Eric Arthur Blair], chapter VI, in Homage to Catalonia, London: Secker & Warburg, →OCLC:
      But there were less casualties than might have been expected, and the barricade rose steadily, a wall of concrete two feet thick, with embrasures for two machine-guns and a small field gun.
  2. (figurative) Any small protected space.
    • 1938, Norman Lindsay, Age of Consent, 1st Australian edition, Sydney, N.S.W.: Ure Smith, published 1962, →OCLC, page 128:
      She had a special seat there, a little embrasure between two upright slabs of sandstone, which was sheltered and private.
  3. The slanting indentation in a wall for a door or window, such that the space is larger on the inside than the outside.
    • 1916, James Joyce, chapter 3, in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man[1]:
      When the fit had spent itself he walked weakly to the window and, lifting the sash, sat in a corner of the embrasure and leaned his elbow upon the sill.
    • 2009, Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall, Fourth Estate, published 2010, page 155:
      Now he stands in a window embrasure, Liz's prayer book in hand.
  4. (obsolete) An embrace.
    • c. 1602, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Troylus and Cressida”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act IV, scene iv]:
      And suddenly; where injury of chance / Puts back leave-taking, justles roughly by / All time of pause, rudely beguiles our lips / Of all rejoindure, forcibly prevents / Our lock'd embrasures, strangles our dear vows / Even in the birth of our own labouring breath:


Further reading[edit]



From embraser +‎ -ure.


embrasure f (plural embrasures)

  1. (architecture) embrasure


Further reading[edit]