Definition of abatis in English:

abatis

noun

historical
  • A defence made of felled trees placed lengthwise over each other with the boughs pointing outwards.

    • ‘There were still labourers out there, struggling to manoeuvre an abatis into position.’
    • ‘It was a combination of towers, palisades, ditches, abatis, and caltrops to slow the attacking Gauls.’
    • ‘Union soldiers completed digging a series of ditches that zigzagged forward and reached the abatis.’
    • ‘They were built as a system of separate fortresses, abatis lines, and on forested terrain, tree blowdowns.’

Origin

Mid 18th century: from French, literally ‘felled (trees)’, from Old French abatre ‘to fell’ (see abate).

Pronunciation

abatis

/ˈabətɪs/