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

  • n. A military machine for hurling missiles, such as large stones or spears, used in ancient and medieval times.
  • n. A mechanism for launching aircraft at a speed sufficient for flight, as from the deck of a carrier.
  • n. A slingshot.
  • transitive v. To hurl or launch from or as if from a catapult.
  • intransitive v. To become catapulted; spring or bolt.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A device or weapon for throwing or launching large objects, such as a mechanical aid on aircraft carriers designed to help airplanes take off from the flight deck.
  • n. slingshot
  • n. An instance of firing a missile from a catapult.
  • n. An instance of firing something, as if from a catapult.
  • v. To fire a missile from a catapult.
  • v. To fire or launch something, as if from a catapult.
  • v. To increase the status of something rapidly.
  • v. To be fired from a catapult or as if from a catapult.
  • v. To have one's status increased rapidly.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An engine somewhat resembling a massive crossbow, used by the ancient Greeks and Romans for throwing stones, arrows, spears, etc.
  • n. A forked stick with elastic band for throwing small stones, etc.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In Roman antiquity, a military engine used to throw darts of great size, called phalarica or trifax.
  • n. A small forked stick to each prong of which is attached an elastic band, generally provided with a piece of leather in the middle, used by boys for throwing small missiles, such as stones, peas, paper pellets, and the like.
  • To hurl, as a missile, as from a catapult.
  • To shoot at with a catapult: as, to catapult birds.
  • To use a catapult in hurling missiles.

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

  • v. shoot forth or launch, as if from a catapult
  • n. a device that launches aircraft from a warship
  • v. hurl as if with a sling
  • n. an engine that provided medieval artillery used during sieges; a heavy war engine for hurling large stones and other missiles
  • n. a plaything consisting of a Y-shaped stick with elastic between the arms; used to propel small stones


French catapulte, from Old French, from Latin catapulta, from Greek katapaltēs : kata-, cata- + pallein, to brandish, poise a weapon before hurling.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin catapulta, from Ancient Greek καταπέλτης (katapeltēs), from κατά (kata, "downwards, into, against") + πάλλω (pallō, "I poise or sway a missile before it is thrown"). (Wiktionary)



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