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From Anglo-Norman porte coliz and Old French porte couleice, from porte (door) + feminine of couleis (sliding), from couler (to flow).

A portcullis in Stirling, Scotland



portcullis (plural portcullises)

  1. A gate in the form of a grating which is lowered into place at the entrance to a castle, fort, etc.
  2. (heraldry) A heraldic representation of such a gate used as a charge, often with chains attached; as in the arms of the City of Westminster.
  3. (historical) An English coin of the reign of Elizabeth I, struck for the use of the East India Company, and bearing the figure of a portcullis on the reverse.



portcullis (third-person singular simple present portcullises, present participle portcullising, simple past and past participle portcullised)

  1. To obstruct with, or as with, a portcullis; to shut; to bar.

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for portcullis in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)