or foss

[fos, faws]


a moat or defensive ditch in a fortification, usually filled with water.
any ditch, trench, or canal.

Origin of fosse

1350–1400; Middle English < Middle French < Latin fossa fossa1




Robert LouisBob, 1927–87, U.S. dancer, choreographer, and theater and film director. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for fosse

Contemporary Examples of fosse

Historical Examples of fosse

  • Until he, Ercwlf, Descended into the fosse of the rampart, And was covered with sand.

    Y Gododin


  • He leaped from the wall into the fosse, a height of thirty feet and upwards.

  • Then she returned, took her banner, and stood on the brink of the fosse.

  • Standard in hand, the Maid leaped into the fosse near the pig market.

  • The Count is at this moment cooling his heels in the fosse cell.

    Doom Castle

    Neil Munro

British Dictionary definitions for fosse




a ditch or moat, esp one dug as a fortification

Word Origin for fosse

C14: from Old French, from Latin fossa; see fossa 1
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 fosse

early 14c. (late 13c. in place names), "ditch, trench," mid-15c., from Old French fosse "ditch, grave, dungeon" (12c.), from Latin fossa "ditch," in full fossa terra, literally "dug earth," from fem. past participle of fodere "to dig" (see fossil).

The Fosse-way (early 12c.), one of the four great Roman roads of Britain, probably was so called from the ditch on either side of it.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper