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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 periodicals archive ?
M2 PRESSWIRE-September 5, 2019-: Manufacturing Technology Investments Essential According to Atlatl Software
About one month after the comet's passage, the Maya record shows the royal ascension of Teotihuacan ruler Spearthrower Owl (Atlatl-Cauac), whose hieroglyph and iconic representations clearly depict an owl holding an atlatl, a spear-throwing tool with stars, or "celestial darts," attached.
The focus on sagaies in the Magdalenian represented cyclical change, albeit with new forms and certainly the use of a new propulsion instrument, the spear-thrower or atlatl, invented in the French Solutrean, but increasingly popular in the early Magdalenian, as demonstrated in Spain by finds at El Miron, El Castillo and Las Caldas (De las Heras et al., 2003; Gonzalez Morales and Straus, 2009; Corchon, 2017: 264).
Give me a handgun with a terrible trigger and I might as well be armed with an atlatl.
Specifically, she introduced them to an ancient hunting tool called an atlatl (which was used to hurl darts), showing how it can serve as inspiration for a project that blends engineering and design: Students can study other inventions to send objects sailing through the air (e.g., cannons, slingshots, and tennis rackets; Leidtke demonstrated with a lacrosse stick and a Chuckit, which launches balls for dogs to retrieve) and then design, test, and create a ball-throwing device of their own.
Although my own interest in Hill Country hunting traditions never translated into learning to use an atlatl or knapping points, for years I kept trying to think of a way to integrate the region's prehistory and history into a hunt.
When I find an arrowhead, atlatl point, or spear point, I am instantly curious about the person who held it before me.
"A dart would be used with an atlatl, it's usually a thinner and more flexible rod, while a spear shaft would be designed to be thrown by itself," she said.
This scene typically depicts one or two major figures standing on daises holding spears and an atlatl with smaller figures following or surrounding them.