[ shuh-val-duh-freez ]
/ ʃəˈvæl dəˈfriz /

noun, plural che·vaux-de-frise [shuh-voh-duh-freez] /ʃəˈvoʊ dəˈfriz/. 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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cheval-de-frise

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

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

  • 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
  • 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


/ (ʃəˌvældəˈfriːz) /

noun plural 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 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