Definition of maquis in US English:



  • 1The French resistance movement during the German occupation (1940–45).

    • ‘It was common knowledge that the Maquis had waged an attack on German guards that very morning and had freed as many as three hundred American prisoners of war.’
    • ‘In my wartime youth a member of the French Maquis who threw a bomb into a café killing a few German officers and a number of innocent drinkers was a hero of the resistance.’
    • ‘I also pointed out that the Maquis were not a force resisting colonialism in the sense of the term we understand either in the Raj or in Iraq.’
    • ‘‘Men could hide in the maquis for months - or even years,’ someone tells me.’
    • ‘It was our job to strengthen the organization and discipline of the maquis and provide the link to headquarters for supplies and command as well as general guidance on targets.’
    • ‘It was at that time that the Maquis became a potent force of the resistance movement.’
    • ‘With the creation of the Maquis in the course of 1943, independence and diversity were yet again at the centre of the resistance experience.’
    • ‘Revenge has been conjectured, for a popular officer in the division had been abducted by a party from the maquis the day before; so has trouble over the division's gold reserve, looted in its turn from occupied banks.’
    • ‘He then travelled with members of the maquis to Paris from where he was conducted along the safe route to Spain.’
    • ‘In the south of France, for instance, the maquis began with men fleeing into the hills to avoid being conscripted to work in factories.’
    • ‘At first, the French tried to keep the FLNC and the assorted desperadoes of the maquis under control by deploying their police forces and gendarmerie to enforce law and order.’
    • ‘In southern France organized groups were known as the Maquis, originally composed mainly of young men avoiding compulsory labour service in Germany.’
    • ‘When France was liberated almost entirely by the Allies, it became essential to construct a myth of resistance; just about everybody, it turned out, had been working for the maquis in some way.’
    • ‘Nancy Wake, the only woman warrior, fought gallantly with the maquis in the Auvergne, but Hastings is no more convinced than many of his fellow historians that the French resistance played more than a decorative role.’
    resistance movement, resistance, illegal opposition
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A member of the Maquis.
      • ‘We meet Gaspar, the bull-necked boss of the local Maquis, obviously still enraged by the compliance of his neighbours.’
      • ‘There were 22,000 German troops in the area and initially 3-4,000 Maquis.’
      • ‘At the drop area the Maquis failed to flash their reception lights and caused the mission to be aborted.’
  • 2Dense scrub vegetation consisting of hardy evergreen shrubs and small trees, characteristic of coastal regions in the Mediterranean.

    • ‘In the same area, H. spontaneum also occupies an array of secondary habitats, such as open Mediterranean maquis, abandoned fields, and roadsides.’
    • ‘It thrives in airy oak forests and the maquis, and prefers warm climates such as those of S. Europe, although found as far north as the south of Sweden, and in Russia.’
    • ‘It's an island where isolated villages cling precariously to crags, wild boar snuffle for food and bees grow drunk on the nectar from the maquis - the fragrant scrub that cloaks the island's ancient bones.’
    • ‘Its roots grow deep in the rocky earth of maquis and chaparral.’


Early 19th century (in maquis (sense 2)): from French, ‘brushwood’, from Corsican Italian macchia.