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abatis

[ab-uh-tee, -tis, uh-bat-ee, uh-bat-is] /ˈæb əˌti, -tɪs, əˈbæt i, əˈbæt ɪs/
noun, plural abatis
[ab-uh-teez, uh-bat-eez] /ˈæb əˌtiz, əˈbæt iz/ (Show IPA),
abatises
[ab-uh-tis-iz, uh-bat-uh-siz] /ˈæb əˌtɪs ɪz, əˈbæt ə sɪz/ (Show IPA)
1.
an obstacle or barricade of trees with bent or sharpened branches directed toward an enemy.
2.
a barbed wire entanglement used as an obstacle or barricade against an enemy.
Origin
1760-1770
1760-70; < French; Old French abateis < Vulgar Latin *abatteticius, derivative of Old French abattre (see abate)
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for abatis
  • abatis, trees felled in the direction of the enemy with sharpened ends, offered such obstacles.
  • These, interspersed with felled cocoanut palm trunks and thoroughly laced with barbed wire, made formidable abatis-type obstacles.
  • The strong position was strengthened by earthworks and by an abatis along the creek.
  • The enemy could be seen building breastworks, or abatis work, for protection from our shot and shells.
British Dictionary definitions for abatis

abatis

/ˈæbətɪs; ˈæbətiː/
noun (fortifications)
1.
a rampart of felled trees bound together placed with their branches outwards
2.
a barbed-wire entanglement before a position
Word Origin
C18: from French, from abattre to fell
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 abatis
n.

"defense made of felled trees," 1766, from French abatis, literally "things thrown down," from Old French abateis, from abattre "to beat down, throw down" (see abate).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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