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[shuh-val-duh-freez] /ʃəˈvæl dəˈfriz/
noun, plural chevaux-de-frise
[shuh-voh-duh-freez] /ʃəˈvoʊ dəˈfriz/ (Show IPA),
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.
Origin of cheval-de-frise
1680-90; < French; literally, horse of Friesland, so called because first used by Frisians Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for cheval de frise
Historical Examples
  • The cheval de frise had given way under the strain upon it, and the rope had dropped on to the coping of the wall itself.

    In Strange Company Guy Boothby
  • But between the hunters and their fallen quarry reared a cheval de frise of flame and fallen timber impossible to cross.

  • Whence also cheval de frise, a contrivance used by the Frieslanders against cavalry.

British Dictionary definitions for cheval de frise


noun (pl) chevaux-de-frise (ʃəˌvəʊdəˈfriːz)
a portable barrier of spikes, sword blades, etc, used to obstruct the passage of cavalry
a row of spikes or broken glass set as an obstacle on top of a wall
Word Origin
C17: from French, literally: horse from Friesland (where it was first used)
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 cheval de frise

1680s, from French, literally "horse of Frisia," supposedly because it was first employed there as a defense against cavalry; from French cheval "horse" (see cavalier (n.)). Plural chevaux de frise.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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