Share this entry

Share this page

ballista

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.

Origin

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

Definition of ballista in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day ingratiate
Pronunciation: ɪnˈɡreɪʃɪeɪt
verb
bring oneself into favour with someone through flattery…