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n. pl. bal·lis·tae (-tē′)
An ancient and medieval engine of warfare, usually having a design similar to a crossbow, used to hurl heavy projectiles.

[Latin, from Greek ballistēs, from ballein, to throw; see gwelə- in Indo-European roots.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


n, pl -tae (-tiː)
1. (Arms & Armour (excluding Firearms)) an ancient catapult for hurling stones, etc
2. (Arms & Armour (excluding Firearms)) an ancient form of large crossbow used to propel a spear
[C16: from Latin, ultimately from Greek ballein to throw]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(bəˈlɪs tə)

n., pl. -tae (-tē).
an ancient military engine for throwing stones or other missiles.
[1590–1600; < Latin, probably < Greek *ballistḗs=báll(ein) to throw + -istēs -ist]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.ballista - an engine that provided medieval artillery used during siegesballista - an engine that provided medieval artillery used during sieges; a heavy war engine for hurling large stones and other missiles
engine - an instrument or machine that is used in warfare, such as a battering ram, catapult, artillery piece, etc.; "medieval engines of war"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
As what is left of her legions set sail for Dragonstone, from where she plans to lead her final charge on King's Landing, a surprise attack by Euron Greyjoy's fleet armed with ballistas kills another one of her dragons, proving that her ace in the sleeve is not as invulnerable as she thought and her destiny, not as inevitable.
Well known for its philosophers, that region and era may also have been the source of the "bigger is better" philosophy, because before long belly bows blossomed into larger scorpios and ballistas, which are technically considered torsion catapults and not crossbows, though I'm still not quite sure of the difference as renderings and reproductions look suspiciously like really big crossbows to me.