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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 ?
The development places the triangle-weaver spider, or Hyptiotes cavatus, alongside humans as the other known species to amplify muscular energy with external devices, a feat people achieve with crossbows or ballistae.
Jim Rodda had previously designed a number of 3D-printable items of a medieval persuasion, including functional miniature ballistae and catapults for tabletop gaming.