[ab-uh-tee, -tis, uh-bat-ee, uh-bat-is]
noun, plural abatis [ab-uh-teez, uh-bat-eez] , abatises [ab-uh-tis-iz, uh-bat-uh-siz] .
an obstacle or barricade of trees with bent or sharpened branches directed toward an enemy.
a barbed wire entanglement used as an obstacle or barricade against an enemy.

1760–70; < French; Old French abateis < Vulgar Latin *abatteticius, derivative of Old French abattre (see abate)

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World English Dictionary
abatis or abattis (ˈæbətɪs, ˈæbətiː, ˈæbətɪs, ˈæbətiː)
1.  a rampart of felled trees bound together placed with their branches outwards
2.  a barbed-wire entanglement before a position
[C18: from French, from abattre to fell]
abattis or abattis
[C18: from French, from abattre to fell]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

"defense made of felled trees," 1766, from Fr., lit. "things thrown down," from O.Fr. abateis, from abattre "to beat down, throw down" (see abate).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Abatis, trees felled in the direction of the enemy with sharpened ends, offered such 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.
These, interspersed with felled cocoanut palm trunks and thoroughly laced with barbed wire, made formidable abatis-type obstacles.
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