an outwork of a fortified place, as a castle.
a defensive outpost of any sort.
Also, barbacan.

1250–1300; Middle English barbecan, barbican < Old French barbacane or Medieval Latin barbacana, perhaps ≪ Persian bālāḥāna terrace over a roof, upper floor, altered by association with Latin barba beard, a beard marking the front or face of a thing Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
barbican (ˈbɑːbɪkən)
1.  a walled outwork or tower to protect a gate or drawbridge of a fortification
2.  a watchtower projecting from a fortification
[C13: from Old French barbacane, from Medieval Latin barbacana, of unknown origin]

Barbican (ˈbɑːbɪkən)
the Barbican a building complex in the City of London: includes residential developments and the Barbican Arts Centre (completed 1982) housing concert and exhibition halls, theatres, cinemas, etc

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

"outer fortification of a city or castle," c.1300, from O.Fr. barbacane (12c.), a general Romanic word, perhaps ultimately from Arabic or Persian (cf. bab-khanah "gate-house").
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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