or ar·ba·list


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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for arbalist

Historical Examples of arbalist

  • An arbalist or cross-bow man; also the corruption of alabaster.

    The Sailor's Word-Book

    William Henry Smyth

  • In the meantime here is Wat with his arbalist and a bolt in his girdle.

    Sir Nigel

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • Shoots excellently with the bow or arbalist, rides, swims, is a master of fence with the small sword.

    The Romance of Leonardo da Vinci

    Dmitry Sergeyevich Merezhkovsky

  • He had brought his arbalist to his shoulder, when a commotion arose among the onlookers.

    The Romance of Leonardo da Vinci

    Dmitry Sergeyevich Merezhkovsky

  • Then may come the English long-bow (far more rapid in its fire191 than the arbalist), and the day of the infantry will return.

    Life on a Mediaeval Barony

    William Stearns Davis

British Dictionary definitions for arbalist



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

Word Origin for arbalest

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 arbalist



"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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper