[gley-sis, glas-is]

noun, plural gla·cis [gley-seez, -siz, glas-eez, -iz] /ˈgleɪ siz, -sɪz, ˈglæs iz, -ɪz/, gla·cis·es.

a gentle slope.
Fortification. a bank of earth in front of the counterscarp or covered way of a fort, having an easy slope toward the field or open country.

Origin of glacis

1665–75; < Middle French; akin to Old French glacier to slide; compare Latin glaciāre to make into ice; see glacé Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for glacis

Historical Examples of glacis

  • We then crawled on our stomachs across the glacis till we arrived at the rampart.

    Peter Simple

    Frederick Marryat

  • In six days they completed the parapet, with a glacis on the opposite side.

  • No one appeared: the glacis and entrenchments seemed abandoned.

    The Tiger-Slayer

    Gustave Aimard

  • They crossed the street and went down the glacis of the cobblestoned wharf.

    Edith and John

    Franklin S. Farquhar

  • Russia already held the glacis, as represented by Usbeg-Turkistan.

    India Under British Rule

    James Talboys Wheeler

British Dictionary definitions for glacis


noun plural -ises or -is (-iːz, -ɪz)

a slight incline; slope
an open slope in front of a fortified place
short for glacis plate

Word Origin for glacis

C17: from French, from Old French glacier to freeze, slip, from Latin glaciāre, from glaciēs ice
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 glacis

"sloping bank" (especially leading up to a fortification), 1670s, from French glacir "to freeze, make slippery," from Old French glacier "to slip, glide," from Vulgar Latin *glaciare "to make or turn into ice," from glacies (see glacial).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper