cheval de frise


noun, plural chevaux-de-frise [shuh-voh-duh-freez] , Usually, chevaux-de-frise.
a portable obstacle, usually a sawhorse, covered with projecting spikes or barbed wire, for military use in closing a passage, breaking in a defensive wall, etc.

1680–90; < French; literally, horse of Friesland, so called because first used by Frisians Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
cheval-de-frise (ʃəˌvældəˈfriːz)
n , pl chevaux-de-frise
1.  a portable barrier of spikes, sword blades, etc, used to obstruct the passage of cavalry
2.  a row of spikes or broken glass set as an obstacle on top of a wall
[C17: from French, literally: horse from Friesland (where it was first used)]

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

cheval de frise
1688, from Fr., lit. "horse of Frisia," because it was first employed there as a defense against cavalry. Plural chevaux de frise.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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