American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A defensive obstacle made by laying felled trees on top of each other with branches, sometimes sharpened, facing the enemy.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In the middle ages, an officer of the stables who had the care of measuring out the provender; an avenor.
- n. In fortification, a barricade made of felled trees denuded of their smaller branches, with the butt-ends of the trunks embedded in the earth or secured by pickets, and the sharpened ends of the branches directed upward and outward toward an advancing enemy, for the purpose of obstructing his progress. In field-fortifications the abatis is usually constructed in front of the ditch. See
- n. In coal-mining, walls of cord-wood piled up crosswise to keep the underground roads open so as to secure ventilation.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Fort.) A means of defense formed by felled trees, the ends of whose branches are sharpened and directed outwards, or against the enemy.
- n. a line of defense consisting of a barrier of felled or live trees with branches (sharpened or with barbed wire entwined) pointed toward the enemy
- French abatis, abattis, "mass of things beaten or cut down", from abattre. See abate. (Wiktionary)
- French, pile of things thrown down, from Old French abateis; akin to abattre, to throw down; see abate. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“I mean that the Wilderness woodsmen, without orders from Clay, had converted the entire area that would have to be traversed into a natural death trap, an abatis, a French word my grandfather did not know, nor did I when I first heard it.”
“Her feet, of a kind that painters call abatis, rose above the varnished leather of the shoes in a swelling that was some inches high.”
“High entanglements (known as abatis) may be made by felling trees toward the enemy, and similar entanglements made of brushwood are useful in emergency.”
“MODs lay minefields, dig AT ditches, emplace demolitions, and create other obstacles, such as abatis or log cribs to block forest roads.”
“abatis" from the fallen trees, while earthworks commanding the position were soon erected.”
“Get engineers to build Pontoon bridges and abatis, and use sharpshooters to snipe at the enemy from a safe distance.”
“Nivelles highway, and there overflowed in a large pool in front of the abatis of trees which barred the way, at a spot which is still pointed out.”
“They cleared the ground in front of the works, lacing it with abatis.”
“Some took bark from trees to make wigwams, while others felled big trees to make an abatis of tangled branches around their camp, leaving only the riverbank open as a line of retreat.”
“The attack, if it took place, would come from below; and against that Amyas guarded by felling the smaller trees, and laying them with their boughs outward over the crest of the slope, thus forming an abatis (as every one who has shot in thick cover knows to his cost) warranted to bring up in two steps, horse, dog, or man.”
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