• 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

pistol, bomb, sword, gun, missile, cannon, rifle, machete, ammunition, firearm, knife, shotgun, revolver, slingshot, catapult, dagger, spear, bayonet, ax, bludgeon

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