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A throwing device usually consisting of a stick fitted with a thong or socket to steady the butt of a spear or dart and extend the length it travels.

[Nahuatl, from atla, to throw.]
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.


(Arms & Armour (excluding Firearms)) a wooden implement used to throw a spear or similar weapon at a greater speed or distance as used by Native Americans
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈɑtˌlɑt l)

a device for throwing a spear, usu. a flat wooden stick with a handhold and a peg or socket to accommodate the butt end of the spear.
[1870–75; < Nahuatl ahtlatl]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
In front of them stood a youth of about seventeen, his hand still raised and his body bent forward in the attitude of a Grecian statue of a spear-thrower. Evidently the flash of light had been caused by a weapon which he had hurled.
Visitors used prehistoric hand-driven pump drills and an atlatl, the spear-thrower used by Paleoindians to hunt mammoths.
Most viewers find pre-Hispanic culture hard to grasp and exhibitions have traditionally not been very helpful in decoding glyphs or explaining what the imagery on a stone calendar altar or spear-thrower actually means.
Besides this, Luhrmann has been accused by Greer for using acclaimed Aboriginal actor David Gulpilil's character King George as "a cigar-store Indian, standing on one leg, the other foot propped up against his knee, silhouetted against the skyline, spar and spear-thrower in hand".
Another painting by Baines (Braddon 1986:54) clearly depicts an Aboriginal male, with Kimberley-type spear engaged in spear-thrower, threatening the two men.
All 43 illustrations are in color, beginning with a Paleolithic spear-thrower, for the period 15,000-9000 B.C.E., and continuing up to present times.
crest grasping his spear-thrower, Lord Nezahualpilli appears.
He also informed us of the icon of the great Gwion hunter, Yandama, who is renowned for having invented the spear-thrower, nyarndu (thus enabling hunters to get sufficient spear thrust to penetrate the hide of a sprinting wallaby).
While with them, Moctu is shocked to discover that, although these primitive people know little about spear-throwers or making clothes, they can make fire, and he learns the skill.
But in Tasmania, groups of hunter-gatherers began to lose -- or failed to develop -- a wide range of useful technologies: bone tools, fitted cold-weather clothing, boomerangs, spear-throwers, and durable boats.