July 04, 2016
rampart (noun)
\RAM-part\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: a broad bank or wall raised as a protective barrier; also : any barrier that provides protection
How do you use it?
Francis Scott Key wrote the words to the "The Star-Spangled Banner" during the War of 1812, inspired by observing from a rampart that the United States flag still flew over Fort McHenry after a night of shelling by the British.
Are you a word wiz?

Francis Scott Key used the word "rampart" so famously in 1814. When you think the word "rampart" was first used in English?

English borrowed "rampart" from French in the early 1500s. "Rampart" ultimately traces back to Latin "parare," meaning "to prepare." It eventually came into Middle French as "ramparer," meaning "to fortify," which developed into the French word "rampart." "Rampart" was borrowed directly into English to refer to a defensive wall. Initially, "rampart" was used to mean any protective wall, but soon it came to refer to a high embankment topped with a parapet. More recently, "rampart" has come to refer to any wall-like ridge, not just a defensive structure. Incidentally, Key's composition was originally a poem called "Defense of Fort M'Henry," which was later set to music.
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