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cheval-de-frise (shuh-VAL duh FREEZ) noun plural chevaux-de-frise (shuh-VOH duh FREEZ)
1. An obstacle, typically made of wood, covered with barbed wire or spikes, used to block the advancing enemy.
2. A line of nails, spikes, or broken glass set on top of a wall or railing to deter intruders.
[From French, literally horse of Friesland, so named because it was first used by Frisians who lacked cavalry.]
"Fold back the leaves of an artichoke and you discover ... more artichoke
leaves, at least until you come to the succulent, secret heart hidden
beneath a chevaux-de-frise of thistle-like bristle."
"On the land side, outside the battlements, are acres of chevaux-de-frise:
sharp rock slabs set vertically into the ground, making it virtually
impossible for a person to pass, let alone a horse."
Artists sit on art horses -- wooden benches with supports for their canvases. Carpenters use saw horses, so called because they clearly look like stylized representations of the animal. Not so obvious are horses -- or their cousins -- hiding in many everyday objects. Literally speaking, an easel is an ass (from Dutch ezel), while a bidet is a pony (from French bidet).
We continue with the theme from the last week: words with horse-related origins. In each of this week's terms, there is a horse lurking somewhere in its etymology.
The innocent and the beautiful have no enemy but time. -William Butler Yeats, writer, Nobel laureate (1865-1939)
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