AskDefine | Define turret

Dictionary Definition



1 a small tower extending above a building
2 a self-contained weapons platform housing guns and capable of rotation [syn: gun enclosure, gun turret]

User Contributed Dictionary




From Old English touret, Old French tourette, diminutive of tour a tower, Latin turris. See tower


  1. A little tower, frequently a merely ornamental structure at one of the corners of a building or castle.
  2. historical military A movable building, of a square form, consisting of ten or even twenty stories and sometimes one hundred and twenty cubits high, usually moved on wheels, and employed in approaching a fortified place, for carrying soldiers, engines, ladders, casting bridges, and other necessaries.
  3. An armoured, rotating gun installation, on a fort, ship, aircraft, or armoured fighting vehicle.
  4. (Railroads) The elevated central portion of the roof of a passenger car. Its sides are pierced for light and ventilation.



A little tower
A movable building
A revolving tower constructed of thick iron plates
The elevated central portion of the roof of a passenger car

Extensive Definition

In architecture, a turret (from Italian: torretta, little tower; Latin: turris, tower) is a small tower that projects from the wall of a building such as a medieval castle. Turrets were used to provide a projecting defensive position allowing covering fire to the adjacent wall in the days of military fortification. As their military use faded, turrets were adopted for decorative purposes, as in the Scottish baronial style.
A turret might have a flat top with crenellations as in the picture at right, a pointed roof, or any other kind of top. It might contain a staircase if it projects higher than the building. However, a turret might not be any higher than the rest of the building; in this case it is part of a room, that can be simply walked into – see the turret of Chateau de Chaumont on this collection of turrets, which also illustrates a turret on a modern skyscraper.
A building may have both towers and turrets; turrets might be smaller or higher but the difference is generally considered to be that a turret projects from the edge of the building, rather than continuing to the ground. The size of a turret is therefore limited by technology, since it puts additional stresses on the structure of the building. It would traditionally be supported by a corbel.

See also

turret in German: Tourelle
turret in French: Poivrière (architecture)
turret in Macedonian: Торета


Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

antenna tower, barbican, belfry, bell tower, campanile, colossus, column, cupola, derrick, dome, fire tower, lantern, lighthouse, martello, martello tower, mast, minaret, monument, obelisk, observation tower, pagoda, pilaster, pillar, pinnacle, pole, pylon, pyramid, shaft, skyscraper, spire, standpipe, steeple, stupa, television mast, tope, tour, tower, water tower, windmill tower
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