• synonyms


[kon-truh-vuh-ley-shuh n]
noun Fortification.
  1. a more or less continuous chain of redoubts and breastworks raised by besiegers outside the line of circumvallation of a besieged place to protect the besiegers from attacks from the outside, as by a relieving force.
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Origin of contravallation

1670–80; contra-1 + vallation; compare French contrevallation, Italian contravvallazione
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for contravallation

Historical Examples

  • The other covered the siege, and secured himself from the allies by lines of contravallation.

    The History of England in Three Volumes, Vol.II.

    Tobias Smollett

  • On the 20th I continued working on the lines of contravallation, under a dreadful fire from the place.

  • The old system of intrenched camps and lines of contravallation is unsuited to the spirit of modern warfare.

  • Around the great tête de pont, he contented himself with raising a contravallation, which cut off the two roads.

    Annals of a Fortress

    E. Viollet-le-Duc

  • Before help arrived, Anseric had had time to kill or put to flight all who were guarding the contravallation.

    Annals of a Fortress

    E. Viollet-le-Duc

British Dictionary definitions for contravallation


  1. fortifications built by besiegers around the place besieged
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Word Origin

C17: from contra- + Latin vallātiō entrenchment; compare French contrevallation
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