• synonyms


or ar·ba·list

See more synonyms for arbalest on Thesaurus.com
  1. a powerful medieval crossbow with a steel bow, used to shoot stones, metal balls, arrows, etc.
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Origin of arbalest

before 1100; < Old French arbaleste < Old Provençal < Late Latin arcuballista (see arc, ballista); replacing Middle English, late Old English arblast < Old French
Related formsar·ba·lest·er, ar·ba·list·er [ahr-buh-lis-ter] /ˈɑr bəˌlɪs tər/, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for arbalest

Historical Examples

  • To my mind the long-bow is a better weapon than the arbalest, but it may be ill for me to prove it.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • Holding the arbalest with one hand, Daoud vaulted into the saddle.

  • The form of the arbalest of this time may be seen in our woodcut, No. 50.

  • On this bird, I deemed, he meant to try his skill with the arbalest.

    A Monk of Fife

    Andrew Lang

  • The arbalest is said by some writers to be of Italian origin.

British Dictionary definitions for arbalest



  1. a large medieval crossbow, usually cocked by mechanical means
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Word Origin

C11: from Old French arbaleste, from Late Latin arcuballista, from Latin arcus bow + ballista
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

Word Origin and History for arbalest


"crossbow," c.1300, from Old French arbaleste "large crossbow with a crank" (12c., Modern French arbalète), from Vulgar Latin arbalista, from Late Latin arcuballista "catapult," from Latin arcus "bow" (see arc (n.)) + ballista "machine for throwing projectiles" (see ballistic). German armbrust is from the same French word but mangled by folk etymology.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper