[ba-steel; French bas-tee-yuh]
noun, plural bastilles [ba-steelz; French bas-tee-yuh] .
(initial capital letter) a fortress in Paris, used as a prison, built in the 14th century and destroyed July 14, 1789.
any prison or jail, especially one conducted in a tyrannical way.
a fortified tower, as of a castle; a small fortress; citadel.
Also, bastile [ba-steel] .

1350–1400; Middle English bastile < Middle French, probably alteration of bastide bastide, with -ile (< Medieval Latin, Latin -īle noun suffix of place) replacing -ide; replacing Middle English bastel < Old French basstel, with -el similarly replacing -ide Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
Bastille (bæˈstiːl, French bastij)
a fortress in Paris, built in the 14th century: a prison until its destruction in 1789, at the beginning of the French Revolution
[C14: from Old French bastile fortress, from Old Provençal bastida, from bastir to build, of Germanic origin; see baste1]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

14c. Paris prison destroyed by revolutionaries on July 14, 1789, lit. "fortress, tower" (see bastion).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
Bastille [(ba-steel)]

A prison in Paris where many political and other offenders were held and tortured until the time of the French Revolution. It was attacked by workers on July 14, 1789, during the revolution; the prisoners were released, and the building was later demolished.

Note: The anniversary of the attack, Bastille Day, is the most important national holiday in France.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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