AskDefine | Define bollard

Dictionary Definition

bollard n : a strong post (as on a wharf or quay or ship for attaching mooring lines); "the road was closed to vehicular traffic with bollards" [syn: bitt]

User Contributed Dictionary



Origin unknown; perhaps from bole.


  • (UK) /ˈbɒlɑːd/


  1. A strong vertical post of timber or iron, fixed to the ground and/or on the deck of a ship, to which the ship's mooring lines etc are secured
  2. A similar post preventing vehicle access to a pedestrian area or used for security purposes.


post to secure mooring lines
  • Finnish: pollari
  • Italian: bitta
post preventing vehicles from entering pedestrian area
  • Finnish: tolppa
  • Spanish: bolardo

Extensive Definition

A bollard is a short vertical post typically found where large ships dock. While originally it only meant a post used on a quay for mooring, the word now also describes a variety of structures to control or direct road traffic. The term may be related to bole, meaning the lower trunk of a tree.

Mooring bollards

A bollard, a name inherited from the Norman-French name Boulard still often found in Normandy, is a short wooden, iron or stone post used on a quayside for mooring ships. Mooring bollards are rarely totally cylindrical, but typically have a larger diameter near the top to discourage mooring warps (docklines) from coming loose. Single bollards will sometimes include a cross rod to allow the mooring to be bent into a figure eight.


Permanent and retractable buried bollards are increasingly common around the world to hinder vehicle-based terrorist actions from achieving close proximity to buildings, and are also used to prevent Ram-raiding.
Bollards are also used as a form of permanent utility location.


In mountaineering, a bollard is a large pile of snow or a block of ice shaped to form a secure anchor point. The size of a bollard anchor varies depending on the snow condition. Larger size is preferred for new snow which is soft and loose. While bollards can be quite strong, they are time consuming to build and not as commonly used as flukes, pickets, ice screws and Abalokov threads.

Other meanings

  • The Bollard is also an online alternative news publication in Portland, Maine.
  • USCGC Bollard is a US Coast Guard cutter operating in Long Island Sound and north to Narragansett Bay.
  • Urban Park Bollard is a retractable bollard. A retractable bollard is a short post which can be lowered, either manually or automatically, into the ground when not needed. This flexible use creates opportunities for vehicular control as well as pedestrian accessibility in a mixed use public space. Manually retractable bollards are appropriate for new projects and especially for reconstruction projects since they do not require retrofitting into existing landscapes, nor any electrical hookups or hydraulic systems. Similar systems, using bollards that are hinged at ground level, and fold flat allowing vehicles to drive over them, can be deployed in similar circumstances.
  • Decorative bollards are placed in Geelong, Victoria, Australia, to enhance the landscape as a form of outdoor public sculpture. Usually they are made of timber, minimally modified from the traditionally cylindrical, wooden, maritime bollard shape, but brightly painted to resemble human figures. Such figures - which may be historical or contemporary, particular or generic - are sited singly or in clusters along the waterfront and in other areas where people gather. Decorative bollards have become a well-known feature of the city of Geelong and reflect its history as a major Australian port.


Hong Kong Note the chevron signs indicating worksite exit points.
bollard in German: Poller
bollard in Spanish: Noray
bollard in Esperanto: Bolardo
bollard in French: Bollard
bollard in Italian: Bitta
bollard in Dutch: Bolder
bollard in Norwegian: Puller
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