• synonyms


[ab-uh-tee, -tis, uh-bat-ee, uh-bat-is]
noun, plural ab·a·tis [ab-uh-teez, uh-bat-eez] /ˈæb əˌtiz, əˈbæt iz/, ab·a·tis·es [ab-uh-tis-iz, uh-bat-uh-siz] /ˈæb əˌtɪs ɪz, əˈbæt ə sɪz/.
  1. an obstacle or barricade of trees with bent or sharpened branches directed toward an enemy.
  2. a barbed wire entanglement used as an obstacle or barricade against an enemy.
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Origin of abatis

1760–70; < French; Old French abateis < Vulgar Latin *abatteticius, derivative of Old French abattre (see abate)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for abatis

Historical Examples of abatis

  • He got his smashed with a bullet comin' through the abatis, and's bin mournin' about 'em ever since.

    Si Klegg, Book 6 (of 6)

    John McElroy

  • The further we can get through that abatis before they discover us, the fewer we'll have killed.

  • In front of the abatis had been planted a battery of four guns.

    The Civil War Through the Camera

    Henry W. (Henry William) Elson

  • Here he fought in rifle-pits, protected by abatis and a difficult bayou.

  • Fifty yards in front of the abatis the pickets were stationed.

British Dictionary definitions for abatis



noun fortifications
  1. a rampart of felled trees bound together placed with their branches outwards
  2. a barbed-wire entanglement before a position
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Word Origin for abatis

C18: from French, from abattre to fell
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

Word Origin and History for abatis


"defense made of felled trees," 1766, from French abatis, literally "things thrown down," from Old French abateis, from abattre "to beat down, throw down" (see abate).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper