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[buhlk-hed] /ˈbʌlkˌhɛd/
Nautical. any of various wall-like constructions inside a vessel, as for forming watertight compartments, subdividing space, or strengthening the structure.
Aeronautics. a transverse partition or reinforcing frame in the body of an airplane.
Civil Engineering.
  1. a partition built in a subterranean passage to prevent the passage of air, water, or mud.
  2. a retaining structure of timber, steel, or reinforced concrete, used for shore protection and in harbor works.
Building Trades.
  1. a horizontal or inclined outside door over a stairway leading to a cellar.
  2. a boxlike structure, as on a roof, covering a stairwell or other opening.
Origin of bulkhead
1490-1500; bulk2 + head
Related forms
bulkheaded, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for bulkhead
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Jackson, with bare arms crossed, leaned his shoulders against the bulkhead of the cabin.

    Tales of Unrest Joseph Conrad
  • He knew besides such words as "hawser," "bulkhead" and "ebb-tide."

    The Harbor Ernest Poole
  • He concentrated and tried to put a hand through the bulkhead.

    Earth Alert! Kris Neville
  • It laid over by the bulkhead, and was nearly the color of the carpet.

    Tom Sawyer, Detective Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
  • Tom leaned over the table and stared at the bulkhead in front of him.

    The Space Pioneers Carey Rockwell
  • Gregory, left to himself, edged closer against the bulkhead.

  • "Nothing," stoutly declared the newcomer, keeping his face turned toward the bulkhead.

    Boy Scouts in Southern Waters G. Harvey Ralphson
  • He seems to be thumping the bulkhead with his fists—or his head.

    Chance Joseph Conrad
  • Someone slammed him against the bulkhead and held him there with his face to it.

    Satellite System Horace Brown Fyfe
British Dictionary definitions for bulkhead


any upright wall-like partition in a ship, aircraft, vehicle, etc
a wall or partition built to hold back earth, fire, water, etc
Word Origin
C15: probably from bulk projecting framework, from Old Norse bálkr partition + head
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 bulkhead

late 15c., with head (n.); the first element perhaps from bulk "framework projecting in the front of a shop" (1580s), which is perhaps from Old Norse bolkr "beam, balk" (see balk (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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