Meaning of abatis in English:


Pronunciation /ˈabətɪs/

nounplural noun abatises

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

    ‘Union soldiers completed digging a series of ditches that zigzagged forward and reached the abatis.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They were built as a system of separate fortresses, abatis lines, and on forested terrain, tree blowdowns.’


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