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verb (used with object), em·bat·tled, em·bat·tling.
  1. to arrange in order of battle; prepare for battle; arm.
  2. to fortify (a town, camp, etc.).
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Origin of embattle1

1350–1400; Middle English embatailen < Middle French embataillier. See em-1, battle1


verb (used with object), em·bat·tled, em·bat·tling.
  1. to furnish with battlements.
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Origin of embattle2

First recorded in 1350–1400, embattle is from the Middle English word embatailen. See em-1, battle2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Examples from the Web for embattle

Historical Examples

  • The officers had been unable to make them embattle the walls.

    History of the Commune of 1871

    P. Lissagary

  • And Douglas found the forces that were to embattle him drawing up in line.

  • Against her Napoleon now prepared to embattle the might of his vast Empire.

British Dictionary definitions for embattle


verb (tr)
  1. to deploy (troops) for battle
  2. to strengthen or fortify (a position, town, etc)
  3. to provide (a building) with battlements
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Word Origin

C14: from Old French embataillier; see en- 1, battle
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 embattle


late 14c., "prepare for a fight," from Old French embataillier "to prepare for battle," from en- (see en- (1)) + bataille (see battle (n.)). Related: Embattled; embattling. Originally of armies; of individuals as well since 1590s (first attested in Spenser).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper