Borrowed from French rideau (“curtain”), from Middle French rideau, from Old French ridel (“plaited stuff; cloth curtain; blind”), from rider (“to plait; to wrinkle”), perhaps from Old High German ridil (“a headband; a ribbon”) or rīdan, wrīdan (“to wrinkle”) (related to English writhe), from Proto-Germanic *wriþilaz, from *wrīþaną (“to twist, wind, wrap”). See more at riddle (“curtain”), writhe.
rideau (plural rideaus or rideaux)
- A fortification or barrier such as a small earthen mound or ridge, a file of troops, etc.
- 1759, Guillaume Le Blond; Jacques Prempart, The Military Engineer:
- A judgment may be formed of the weakness of the place, either by the facility found in making the approaches, or by establishing the magazines in the rear of the trenches, taking advantage of some rideau, or hollow way, whereby the right and left of the trenches are better supported. In order to judge of the facility of making the approaches, observe whether there are in the neighbourhood of the place any ditches, hollow ways, rideaus, houses, hedges, behind which the enemy may advance, and place their guards of horse and foot under cover from the fire of the place ; [...]
- 1778, A Military Dictionary, Explaining and Describing the Technical Terms:
- Rideau. A small rising ground or eminence, commanding a plain, which is sometimes near parallel to the works of a place. It is a great disadvantage to have Rideaus near a fortification, especially when they shoot from far, and terminate on counterscarp; for they not only command the place, but likewise facilitate the enemy's approaches.
- 1837, William James; Frederick Chamier, The Naval History of Great Britain:
- At the end of a three hours' cannonade, few if any of the Danish block-ships, prames, or rideaus, had ceased firing ; […]
- 1841, Frederic Tolfrey, The sportsman in France:
- In less than an hour we arrived at the side of a small covert overhanging a rideau (or bank) of considerable extent : […]
- 1961, R. Rogers, Journals of Major Robert Rogers, page 171:
- About the 24th proposal was made for taking the enemy's vessels, three of which were at anchor a little below the fort, and some of their rideaus likewise.
- 2007, Auguste Laugel, The United States During the War:
- Leaving only a rideau of troops on the left bank of the James, Grant sent Sheridan and the greater part of the army to the Potomac […]
- “rideau”, in Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster, 1996–present.
- “rideau” in TheFreeDictionary.com, Huntingdon Valley, Pa.: Farlex, Inc., 2003–2023.
Inherited from Middle French rideau, from Old French ridel (“a curtain", originally, "a plaited stuff”), perhaps from Old High German ridil (“a headband; ribbon”), from Proto-Germanic *wriþilaz, from *wrīþaną (“to twist; wind; wrap”).
Alternatively, Old French ridel may derive from rider (“to wrinkle”), from Old High German rīdan (“to wrap; twist; wind; wrinkle”), from the same Proto-Germanic verb above.
rideau m (plural rideaux)
- curtain (woven fabric to cover, e.g., windows)
- blind (cover for windows)
- (figuratively) curtain, veil (something keeping another in secret)
- “rideau”, in Trésor de la langue française informatisé [Digitized Treasury of the French Language], 2012.
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