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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for cheval de frise
Historical Examples
  • 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.

  • 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
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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