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Line breaks: bal|lista
Pronunciation: /bəˈlɪstə

Definition of ballista in English:

noun (plural ballistae /-stiː/ or ballistas)

1A catapult used in ancient warfare for hurling large stones.
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 used in ancient warfare for firing a spear.
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'.

Definition of ballista in:

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