Definition of ballista in English:


Syllabification: bal·lis·ta
Pronunciation: /bəˈlistə

noun (plural ballistae /-tē/ or ballistas)

1A catapult used in ancient warfare for hurling large stones.
More example sentences
  • The two types of siege weapons were catapults and ballistae, with catapults being the predecessor (Iannuzzo).
  • The player can use catapults, battering rams, ballistas and ancient ‘elevators’.
  • Caesar covered his landing in Britain with catapults and ballistas.
1.1A large crossbow for firing a spear.
More example sentences
  • Nadia spotted a group of men hauling out a huge ballista, a gigantic crossbow on wheels.
  • The ballista was, in essence, a giant crossbow.
  • With the ballistae, however, they hoped to launch flaming spears into the sails of their enemy, slowing them down.


early 16th century: from Latin, based on Greek ballein 'to throw'.

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Pronunciation: ˈrɛtrə(ʊ)flɛks
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