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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Spahi \Spa"hi\, Spahee \Spa"hee\, n. [Per., Turk., & Hind. sip[=a]h[=i]: cf. F. spahi. See Seroy.]

  1. Formerly, one of the Turkish cavalry.

  2. An Algerian cavalryman in the French army.


n. 1 (context history English) An Ottoman (Turkish empire) cavalryman, especially as recruited under a land-based system. 2 (context history English) A soldier in a mainly Arab-recruited cavalry (originally horse, later light armored) regiment in French colonial service in (former/ in name still) Ottoman North African provinces


Spahis were light cavalry regiments of the French army recruited primarily from the indigenous populations of Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco. The modern French Army retains one regiment of Spahis as an armoured unit, with personnel now recruited in mainland France. Senegal also maintains a mounted unit with spahi origins as a presidential escort: the Red Guard.

Usage examples of "spahi".

Thus it was that the company of SPAHIS marched on that afternoon toward Bou Saada without him.

Her sister, she said, married a Captain Ben Halim of the Spahis, and came with him to Algiers, nearly ten years ago.

Arab Intelligence Department at Ouargla, who had remained in the camp, took command of the survivors, spahis and sharpshooters, and they began to retreat, leaving behind them the baggage and provisions, for want of camels to carry them.

Maximilian Morrel, captain of Spahis, one of our best, and, above all, of our bravest officers.

Maximilian Morrel, captain of Spahis, -- and son of my former patron, Pierre Morrel, shipowner at Marseilles, -- the sum of twenty millions, a part of which may be offered to his sister Julia and brother-in-law Emmanuel, if he does not fear this increase of fortune may mar their happiness.