• Wall


    • UK IPA: /wɔːl/
    • US IPA: /wɔl/
    • cot-caught IPA: /wɑl/
    • Rhymes: -ɔːl

    Origin 1

    From Middle English wall, from Old English weall ("wall, dike, earthwork, rampart, dam, rocky shore, cliff"), from Proto-Germanic *wallaz, *wallą ("wall, rampart, entrenchment"), from Latin vallum ("wall, rampart, entrenchment, palisade"), from Proto-Indo-European *wel- ("to turn, wind, roll"). Cognate with North Frisian wal ("wall"), Dutch wal ("wall, rampart, embankment"), German Wall ("rampart, mound, embankment"), Swedish vall ("mound, wall, bank"). More at wallow, walk.

    Full definition of wall



    (plural walls)
    1. A rampart of earth, stones etc. built up for defensive purposes.
    2. A structure built for defense surrounding a city, castle etc.
      • 2013-06-08, The new masters and commanders, From the ground, Colombo’s port does not look like much. Those entering it are greeted by wire fences, walls dating back to colonial times and security posts. For mariners leaving the port after lonely nights on the high seas, the delights of the B52 Night Club and Stallion Pub lie a stumble away.
    3. The town wall was surrounded by a moat.
    4. Each of the substantial structures acting either as the exterior of or divisions within a structure.
      • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, The Mirror and the Lamp Chapter 7, St. Bede's at this period of its history was perhaps the poorest and most miserable parish in the East End of London. Close-packed, crushed by the buttressed height of the railway viaduct, rendered airless by huge walls of factories, it at once banished lively interest from a stranger's mind and left only a dull oppression of the spirit.
      • 1963, Margery Allingham, The China Governess Chapter 14, Nanny Broome was looking up at the outer wall. Just under the ceiling there were three lunette windows, heavily barred and blacked out in the normal way by centuries of grime.
    5. We're adding another wall in this room during the remodeling.
      The wind blew against the walls of the tent.
    6. A point of desperation.
    7. A point of defeat or extinction.
    8. An impediment to free movement.
      A wall of police officers met the protesters before they reached the capitol steps.
    9. A type of butterfly (Lasiommata megera).
    10. (often in combination) A barrier.
      a seawall, a firewall
    11. A barrier to vision.
    12. Something with the apparent solidity and dimensions of a building wall.
      a wall of sound, a wall of water
    13. (anatomy, zoology, botany) A divisive or containing structure in an organ or cavity.
      • Schuster Hepaticae V|4-5The epidermal cells of the capsule wall of Jubulopsis, with nodose "trigones" at the angles, are very reminiscent of what one finds in Frullania spp.
    14. (auction) A fictional bidder used to increase the price at an auction. Also called a chandelier.
    15. (soccer) A line of defenders set up between an opposing free-kick taker and the goal.
      • 2011, January 23, Alistair Magowan, Blackburn 2 - 0 West Brom, Blackburn were the recipients of another dose of fortune when from another Thomas pass Odemwingie was brought down by Jones inside the penalty area, but referee Mark Clattenburg awarded a free-kick which Chris Brunt slammed into the wall.
    16. (Internet) A personal notice board listing messages of interest to a particular user.



    1. To enclose with a wallHe walled the study with books.
    2. (with "in") To enclose by surrounding with walls.They had walled in the garden
    3. (with "off") To separate with a wallThe previous owners had walled off two rooms, making an apartment.
    4. (with "up") To seal with a wallThey walled up the basement space that had been used as a coal bin.

    Origin 2

    From Middle English wallen, from Old English weallian ("to bubble, boil"), from Proto-Germanic *wallōną, *wellōną ("to fount, stream, boil"), from Proto-Indo-European *welǝn-, *welǝm- ("wave"). Cognate with Middle Dutch wallen ("to boil, bubble"), Dutch wellen ("to weld"), German wellen ("to wave, warp"), Danish vælde ("to overwhelm"), Swedish välla ("to gush, weld"). See also well.


    1. To boil.
    2. To well, as water; spring.

    Related terms

    Origin 3

    From Middle English walle, from Old English *weall ("spring"), from Proto-Germanic *wallô, *wallaz ("well, spring"). See above. Cognate with Old Frisian walla ("spring"), Old English wiell ("well").



    (plural walls)
    1. (chiefly dialectal) A spring of water.

    Origin 4



    (plural walls)
    1. (nautical) A kind of knot often used at the end of a rope; a wall knot or wale.


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