- any of several plants having spiny heads or fruit, as those of the genera Tribulus and Kallstroemia, or the star thistle, Centaurea calcitrapa.
- an iron ball with four projecting spikes so disposed that when the ball is on the ground one of them always points upward: used to obstruct the passage of cavalry, armored vehicles, etc.
Also cal·throp [kal-thruh p] /ˈkæl θrəp/, cal·trap.
Origin of caltrop
before 1000; Middle English calketrappe, Old English calcatrippe, colte-træppe, equivalent to calce- (< Latin calci-, stem of calx spur, heel) + træppe trap1
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Examples from the Web for caltrop
Historical Examples of caltrop
caltrap calthrop (ˈkælθrəp)
- any tropical or subtropical plant of the zygophyllaceous genera Tribulus and Kallstroemia that have spiny burs or bracts
- water caltrop another name for water chestnut (def. 1)
- another name for the star thistle
- military a four-spiked iron ball or four joined spikes laid upon the ground as a device to lame cavalry horses, puncture tyres, etc
Word Origin for caltrop
Old English calcatrippe (the plant), from Medieval Latin calcatrippa, probably from Latin calx heel + trippa trap 1
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