Definition of glacis in English:


Pronunciation /ˈɡlasi//ˈɡlasɪs/


  • 1A bank sloping down from a fort which exposes attackers to the defenders' missiles.

    • ‘Abutting the glacis of the Acropolis at Athens is the great theatre of Dionysis.’
    • ‘Its purpose was that of a glacis of an ancient castle.’
    • ‘Built in the glacis style, there is no berm but a continuous 11 m. slope from the ditch bottom to the bank top.’
    • ‘On 21 May, having sapped up to the glacis of the city ramparts, which heavy bombardment had almost made untenable, Versaillais troops entered the city.’
    hill, hillside, hillock, bank, rise, escarpment, scarp
    View synonyms
  • 2also glacis plateA sloping piece of armour plate protecting part of a vehicle.

    • ‘If it is pushed out of alignment by the glacis plate, it will detonate the mine underneath the belly of the AFV.’
    • ‘The glacis plate and nose of the hull have been upgraded with the addition of passive armour and the turret has been fitted with stand-off armour.’
    • ‘Other changes included adding a gun shield, a searchlight, an antipersonnel round, and belly armor that extended from the lower front glacis to about the middle of the vehicle.’


Late 17th century: from French, from Old French glacier ‘to slip’, from glace ‘ice’, based on Latin glacies.