Definition of ballista in English:

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Pronunciation: /bəˈlistə/

noun (plural ballistae /-tē/ 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 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'.

Words that rhyme with ballista

assister, bistre (US bister), blister, enlister, glister, lister, mister, resistor, Sandinista, sister, transistor, tryster, twister, vista

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: bal·lis·ta

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