noun Anthropology.

a flexible device for launching a spear, usually a short cord wound around the spear so that when thrown the weapon will rotate in the air.
Also called atlatl. a rigid device for increasing the speed and distance of a spear when thrown, usually a flat wooden stick with a handhold and a peg or socket to accommodate the butt end of the spear.

Nearby words

  1. spear gun,
  2. spear phish,
  3. spear side,
  4. spear-head spoon,
  5. spear-phishing,
  6. spearfish,
  7. spearfisherman,
  8. spearhead,
  9. spearing,
  10. spearman

Origin of spear-thrower

First recorded in 1870–75

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for spear-thrower

  • Are the spear-thrower and the bull-roarer inevitably thought of as alive?

    Anthropology|Robert Marett
  • Spears and wooden clubs are universal, and the use of the spear-thrower is generally distributed.

    Man, Past and Present|Agustus Henry Keane
  • But it is quite otherwise with his spear-thrower or his bull-roarer.

    Anthropology|Robert Marett