(French), from (Italian) gabbione a large cage, gabion, from gabbia cage, (Latin) cavea. See Cage.
1. (Fortification) A hollow cylinder of wickerwork, like a basket without a bottom. Gabions are made of various sizes, and filled with earth in building fieldworks to shelter men from an enemy's fire.2. (Hydraulics Engineering) An openwork frame, as of poles, filled with stones and sunk, to assist in forming a bar dyke, etc. as in harbor improvement.
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Italian gabbione, augmentative of gabbia, itself from Latin cavea.
gabion (plural gabions) A cylindrical basket or cage of wicker which was filled with earth or stones and used in fortifications and other engineering work (a precursor to the sandbag). A woven wire mesh unit, sometimes rectangular, made from a continuous mesh panel and filled with stones sometimes coated with polyvinyl chloride. A porous metal cylinder filled with stones and used in a variety of civil engineering contexts, especially in the construction of retaining walls, the reinforcing of steep slopes, or in the prevention of erosion in river banks. A knickknack, objet d'art, curiosity, collectable. Reliquiae Trotcosienses: Or, the Gabions of the Late Jonathan Oldbuck Esq. of Monkbarns — title of unfinished novel by Walter Scott. 1774, James Cant, introduction, The Muses Threnodie p. vi, quoted in 2004, Walter Scott Reliquiae Trotcosiensis, Edinburgh University Press, p.6, The meaning of the word Gabion, as it is used in the poem, is not to be sought for in any dictionary. It was of the venerable old gentleman Mr Ruthven′s own coining, and it was well enough understood among his select friends, to mean nothing else but the miscellaneous curiosities in his closet humorously described in the poem.
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