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[par-uh-pit, -pet] /ˈpær ə pɪt, -ˌpɛt/
  1. a defensive wall or elevation, as of earth or stone, in a fortification.
  2. an elevation raised above the main wall or rampart of a permanent fortification.
any low protective wall or barrier at the edge of a balcony, roof, bridge, or the like.
Origin of parapet
1575-85; < Italian parapetto, equivalent to para- para-2 + petto chest, breast < Latin pectus
Related forms
parapeted, adjective
parapetless, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for parapet
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The garrison withdrew the guns behind the parapet, and only fired their mortars.

    The Franco-German War of 1870-71 Count Helmuth, von Moltke
  • Let us sit down on the parapet and try to realise the scene.

  • As the light grew they could make out men leaning on their arms and elbows, looking over the parapet.

    Letters from France C. E. W. Bean
  • My first vision over the parapet revealed but a mottled grey.

    City of Endless Night Milo Hastings
  • The Germans are getting up a machine-gun on the parapet straight opposite.

    Letters from France C. E. W. Bean
  • He leapt on the parapet of the window, laughing as he leapt, and waving his sword in his hand.

    The Prisoner of Zenda Anthony Hope
  • And the Reedshires cleared the parapet with a low glad murmur.

  • Marsh turned away from the water, and stood with his back to the parapet.

    Changing Winds St. John G. Ervine
British Dictionary definitions for parapet


/ˈpærəpɪt; -ˌpɛt/
a low wall or railing along the edge of a balcony, roof, etc
Also called breastwork. a rampart, mound of sandbags, bank, etc, in front of a trench, giving protection from fire from the front
Word Origin
C16: from Italian parapetto, literally: chest-high wall, from para-² + petto, from Latin pectus breast
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for parapet

1580s, from Middle French parapet "breastwork" (16c.), or directly from Italian parapetto, from para- "defense" (see para- (2)) + petto "breast," from Latin pectus (see pectoral (adj.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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