Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An ancient and medieval engine of warfare, usually having a design similar to a crossbow, used to hurl heavy projectiles.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun An ancient military engine used for throwing missiles.
  • noun [NL.] In anatomy, the astragalus, a bone of the tarsus.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun An ancient military engine, in the form of a crossbow, used for hurling large missiles.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun An ancient military engine, in the form of a crossbow, used for hurling large missiles.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun an engine that provided medieval artillery used during sieges; a heavy war engine for hurling large stones and other missiles

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Latin, from Greek ballistēs, from ballein, to throw; see gwelə- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin ballista, from Ancient Greek βαλλίστρα (ballistra), from βάλλω (ballō, "I throw").

Examples

  • From that shelter they suddenly appeared and began the attack, so that the guards were neither able to use the engine called the ballista (for these engines do not send their missiles except straight out), nor, indeed, could they ward off their assailants with their arrows, since the situation was against them on account of the large shields.

    Procopius History of the Wars, Books V. and VI.

  • There was also a great deal of work on the ballista which is a hop forward with a loud slap of the foot.

    Seattle Epee: drinking, lefties & my ass

  • There was also a great deal of work on the ballista which is a hop forward with a loud slap of the foot.

    Archive 2006-05-01

  • Watchers loaded crossbows and lifted longbows, ballista crews readied great bolts, catapulters rolled huge stones into their mechanisms.

    GuildWars Edge of Destiny

  • Watchers loaded crossbows and lifted longbows, ballista crews readied great bolts, catapulters rolled huge stones into their mechanisms.

    GuildWars Edge of Destiny

  • The fun ended when the ballista I'd constructed using binder clips, rubber bands and the side of a filing cabinet drawer launched a projectile over my intended target and smack into a Judge's back.

    Construct A Crossbow Out Of Office Supplies | Lifehacker Australia

  • One ballista impaled an ogre, bringing him down, and two of the catapult stones smashed others, but the rest came on.

    GuildWars Edge of Destiny

  • One ballista impaled an ogre, bringing him down, and two of the catapult stones smashed others, but the rest came on.

    GuildWars Edge of Destiny

  • Watchers loaded crossbows and lifted longbows, ballista crews readied great bolts, catapulters rolled huge stones into their mechanisms.

    GuildWars Edge of Destiny

  • One ballista impaled an ogre, bringing him down, and two of the catapult stones smashed others, but the rest came on.

    GuildWars Edge of Destiny

Comments

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  • Early missile weapon resembling large crossbow on a carriage, firing metal bolts, arrows, or stone slugs.

    August 24, 2008

  • In Italian, fam. for bullshitter.

    August 24, 2008