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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
  • There is a low wall there, and a cheval-de-frise on the top of it.

  • These must be sharpened, and as the walls are built, fixed among the stones so as to make a cheval-de-frise.

    Won by the Sword G.A. Henty
  • A cheval-de-frise consists of a horizontal piece of timber armed with wooden or iron lances, which project some eight or ten feet.

  • He looked again and saw a great htel, surrounded by a high wall, along the top of which, ran a cheval-de-frise.

    The Grey Cloak

    Harold MacGrath
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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