- 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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- 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 for cheval-de-frise
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
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