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[sit-uh-dl, -uh-del] /ˈsɪt ə dl, -əˌdɛl/
a fortress that commands a city and is used in the control of the inhabitants and in defense during attack or siege.
any strongly fortified place; stronghold.
(formerly) a heavily armored structure on a warship, for protecting the engines, magazines, etc.
Origin of citadel
1580-90; < Middle French citadelle < Old Italian cittadella, equivalent to cittad(e) city + -ella -elle Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for citadel
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He was lodged with a small escort, in comfortable, but defenceless, quarters in the Bala Hissar or citadel of Cabul.

    Sixty Years a Queen Sir Herbert Maxwell
  • We then would have pushed for citadel Hill, which commanded Halifax.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
  • After five months' imprisonment at Cahors, he was taken out and marched, as already related, to the citadel of Montpellier.

    The Huguenots in France Samuel Smiles.
  • It was this that stormed the citadel of my hope, and drove me from even thinking of a God.

    Wilfrid Cumbermede George MacDonald
  • Of the same date are the fortifications, ramparts, and bastions, which transformed the mount into a fortress and citadel.

    Normandy G. E. Mitton
British Dictionary definitions for citadel


/ˈsɪtədəl; -ˌdɛl/
a stronghold within or close to a city
any strongly fortified building or place of safety; refuge
a specially strengthened part of the hull of a warship
(often capital) the headquarters of the Salvation Army
Word Origin
C16: from Old French citadelle, from Old Italian cittadella a little city, from cittade city, from Latin cīvitās
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 citadel

1580s, "fortress commanding a city," from Middle French citadelle (15c.), from Italian cittadella, diminutive of Old Italian cittade "city" (Modern Italian citta), from Latin civitatem (nominative civitas; also source of Portuguese citadella, Spanish ciuadela; see city).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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