[ kat-uh-puhlt, -poolt ]
See synonyms for: catapultcatapultedcatapulting on

  1. an ancient military engine for hurling stones, arrows, etc.

  2. a device for launching an airplane from the deck of a ship.

  1. British. a slingshot.

verb (used with object)
  1. to hurl from a catapult.

  2. to thrust or move quickly or suddenly: His brilliant performance in the play catapulted him to stardom.

  1. British.

    • to hurl (a missile) from a slingshot.

    • to hit (an object) with a missile from a slingshot.

verb (used without object)
  1. to be catapulted.

  2. to move or spring up suddenly, quickly, or forcibly, as if by means of a catapult: The car catapulted down the highway. When he heard the alarm he catapulted out of bed.

Origin of catapult

1570–80; <Latin catapulta<Greek katapéltēs, equivalent to kata-cata- + péltēs hurler, akin to pállein to hurl

Other words for catapult

Other words from catapult

  • cat·a·pul·tic, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use catapult in a sentence

  • Braceway struck the arm of his chair and catapulted himself into a standing position.

    The Winning Clue | James Hay, Jr.
  • In growing bewilderment, Captain Higgins ordered a plane catapulted into the air, to search the surrounding sea.

    The Lost Warship | Robert Moore Williams
  • Before dawn, Captain Higgins ordered another catapulted into the sky, to search the surrounding area.

    The Lost Warship | Robert Moore Williams
  • Before Nap's worried eyes, a little swish of white catapulted over the plate.

  • As he did so, a man catapulted down the stairs, and rushed for the gate.

British Dictionary definitions for catapult


/ (ˈkætəˌpʌlt) /

  1. a Y-shaped implement with a loop of elastic fastened to the ends of the two prongs, used mainly by children for shooting small stones, etc: US and Canadian name: slingshot

  2. a heavy war engine used formerly for hurling stones, etc

  1. a device installed in warships to launch aircraft

  1. (tr) to shoot forth from or as if from a catapult

  2. (foll by over, into, etc) to move precipitately: she was catapulted to stardom overnight

Origin of catapult

C16: from Latin catapulta, from Greek katapeltēs, from kata- down + pallein to hurl

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