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[hal-berd, hawl-, hol-; formerly haw-berd] /ˈhæl bərd, ˈhɔl-, ˈhɒl-; formerly ˈhɔ bərd/
a shafted weapon with an axlike cutting blade, beak, and apical spike, used especially in the 15th and 16th centuries.
Also, halbert
[hal-bert, hawl-, hol-; formerly haw-bert] /ˈhæl bərt, ˈhɔl-, ˈhɒl-; formerly ˈhɔ bərt/ (Show IPA)
Origin of halberd
1485-95; earlier haubert < Middle French hallebarde < Middle Low German helmbarde, equivalent to helm handle (cognate with helm1) + barde broadax (cognate with Middle High German barte) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for halberd
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • You have a halberd and I a sword, let us start our wanderings over the world.

    The Napoleon of Notting Hill Gilbert K. Chesterton
  • Bersi had a halberd in one hand and a staff in the other, and Halldor had Whitting.

  • Then, dropping the halberd, he seized a spade and began the first embankment.

  • It seems it's a kind of halberd—a sort of cross between a spear and an ax.

    Jack the Young Cowboy George Bird Grinnell
  • They carry a halberd, or sort of lance with a sharp blade at the end.

    Our Little English Cousin Blanche McManus
  • Now he turned to a man with a halberd who stood at his heel.

    Historic Girlhoods Rupert S. Holland
  • In his hand he held the halberd with which Auriol had been wounded.

    Auriol W. Harrison Ainsworth
  • And at the sally she came out the foremost with her halberd in her hand to pursue the chase.

  • And waving his halberd above his head, he beckoned to his followers to advance.

    The Long Night Stanley Weyman
British Dictionary definitions for halberd


a weapon consisting of a long shaft with an axe blade and a pick, topped by a spearhead: used in 15th- and 16th-century warfare
Derived Forms
halberdier, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Old French hallebarde, from Middle High German helm handle, helm1 + barde axe, from Old High German bartbeard
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for halberd

late 15c., from Middle French hallebarde (earlier alabarde, 15c.), from Middle High German halmbarte "broad-axe with handle," from halm "handle" (see helm) + barte "hatchet," possibly from Proto-Germanic *bardoz "beard," also "hatchet, broadax." Alternative etymology [Kluge, Darmesteter] traces first element to helm "helmet," making the weapon an axe for smashing helmets.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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