[kraws-boh, kros-]


a medieval weapon consisting of a bow fixed transversely on a stock having a trigger mechanism to release the bowstring, and often incorporating or accompanied by a mechanism for bending the bow.

Origin of crossbow

First recorded in 1400–50, crossbow is from the late Middle English word crossbowe. See cross, bow2 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for crossbow

Contemporary Examples of crossbow

Historical Examples of crossbow

  • He reappeared in his original form, took up his crossbow and shot at the bird.

  • There was the tip of the dog's tail, and the top of the hunter's crossbow.

    Wilfrid Cumbermede

    George MacDonald

  • The arrow is laid on the stock of a crossbow in the proper position for firing.

    On Laboratory Arts

    Richard Threlfall

  • He leaped upward, as high as possible, his crossbow in his hand.

    Space Prison

    Tom Godwin

  • And already they've got iron swords, the crossbow and even a few muskets.


    Dallas McCord Reynolds

British Dictionary definitions for crossbow



a type of medieval bow fixed transversely on a wooden stock grooved to direct a square-headed arrow (quarrel)
Derived Formscrossbowman, noun
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 crossbow

mid-15c., from cross (n.) + bow (n.1).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper