[bool-werk, -wawrk, buhl-]
a wall of earth or other material built for defense; rampart.
any protection against external danger, injury, or annoyance: The new dam was a bulwark against future floods.
any person or thing giving strong support or encouragement in time of need, danger, or doubt: Religion was his bulwark.
Usually, bulwarks. Nautical. a solid wall enclosing the perimeter of a weather or main deck for the protection of persons or objects on deck.
verb (used with object)
to fortify or protect with a bulwark; secure by or as if by a fortification.

1375–1425; late Middle English bulwerk, probably < Middle Dutch bolwerc, equivalent to bol(l)e bole1 + werk work (noun); cf. boulevard

3. support, buttress, mainstay.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
bulwark (ˈbʊlwək)
1.  a wall or similar structure used as a fortification; rampart
2.  a person or thing acting as a defence against injury, annoyance, etc
3.  (often plural) nautical a solid vertical fencelike structure along the outward sides of a deck
4.  a breakwater or mole
5.  (tr) to defend or fortify with or as if with a bulwark
[C15: via Dutch from Middle High German bolwerk, from bol plank, bole1 + werkwork]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

early 15c., from M.Du. bulwerke or M.H.G. bolwerc, from bole "plank, tree trunk" (from P.Gmc. *bul-, from PIE base *bhel- (2) "to blow, swell;" see bole) + werc "work." Figurative sense is from 1570s.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Bible Dictionary

Bulwarks definition

mural towers, bastions, were introduced by king Uzziah (2 Chr. 26:15; Zeph. 1:16; Ps. 48:13; Isa. 26:1). There are five Hebrew words so rendered in the Authorized Version, but the same word is also variously rendered.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Example sentences
The bulwarks of faith in the armies were supposed to be the chaplains.
Without these basic public health bulwarks, the risk for recurrent cholera and other major waterborne diseases remains high.
However, that right to trial by jury is one of the bulwarks a free society has against tyranny.
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