Middle English Dictionary Entry

tǒur n.(1)
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

(a) A building characterized by height, often free-standing; a tower; also fig.; heigh ~; water ~; (b) such a building used as a fortress, stronghold, or defensive structure; also fig.; also, the fortress of Hell [quot. c1390]; (c) such a building used as a prison or place of confinement; also in fig. context; (d) in proverbs and prov. expressions.
(a) A tower used as a residence, seat of power, or palace; also fig.; also iron.[quots. a1449 & c1450(a1425)]; ~ wal; (b) the dwelling place of God, heaven; also, the pagan heaven [quot. a1420]; heigh) ~ of heven, heven ~, hevenli ~, etc.; (c) astrol. a zodiacal sign conceived of as the residence of a planet; ?also, the exaltation of a planet [1st quot.].
A fortified city taken as a whole, a citadel; also, Zion [quot. a1382, 2nd]; ~ of sion (tire, etc.).
(a) A tower or turret forming part of a city wall, castle, or other defensive fortification; a wall tower, gate tower, bridge tower, etc.; also fig.; arche ~, a main barbican; castel ~; corner ~; (b) a non-defensive tower forming part of a college, church, residence, etc.; a bell tower, a corner tower; corner ~; (c) a decorative pinnacle; toures and pinacles, pinacles and toures.
(a) A movable siege tower; ~ ambulary, ambulary (rollinge) ~; ~ of tre (timber), toures of tres; innere (lesse) ~, a smaller siege tower within the movable one; (b) a structure borne on the back of an elephant or a dromedary from which armed men do battle; ~ of tre; (c) an elevated structure on a warship.
Specific towers: (a) the Tower of London; ~ of (on) london; ~ ward; also in London names deriving from the Tower of London: ~ hille (strete, wharf); ~ weght, weght of the ~, a standard unit of weight for coinage; (b) the Tower of Babel; ~ babel, ~ of (o) babel; (c) dolorous ~, the Dolorous Tower in Malory's Morte Arthure.
In generalizing expressions: tour(es and toun(es, toun(es and tour(es, all holdings or possessions, everything; all inhabited places; fortified places, all fortified places; all human works; in ~ and toun, everywhere; in ~ (or toun, in any place, anywhere; lord of ~ and toun; mani a ~ and toun, many structures and inhabited places; nouther in toun no (ne in) ~, nowhere; the toun other the ~, any fortified place.
(a) A pictorial, heraldic, or sculptural representation of a tower; also, a structure on a stage representing a tower [quot. a1450]; (b) something resembling a tower [quot. ?a1450 may belong to tor n. (b)]; also, cook. pl. the name of a dish [quot. a1450]; gret (heighest) ~, the highest point, apex, summit [could perh. be construed as tor n. (a); cp. toret n.(2)].
Fig. (a) Height, exaltedness; (b) one set aside and exalted by virtue; also, the most exalted representative of something; (c) a spiritual protector or defender; a stronghold of a vice, virtue, etc.; ~ strengthe; ~ of the sineues, a protector of the nerves; —used of the forehead.
In surnames & place names.