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a powerful medieval crossbow with a steel bow, used to shoot stones, metal balls, arrows, etc.
Historical Examples

His Queries of course have reference to the long bow, and not to the arbalest, or cross-bow.
Notes and Queries, Vol. IV, Number 99, September 20, 1851 Various

To my mind the long-bow is a better weapon than the arbalest, but it may be ill for me to prove it.
The White Company Arthur Conan Doyle

Through an arrow-slit he had watched him take down and examine an arbalest, place it on the table and sit down to write.
Love-at-Arms Raphael Sabatini

The form of the arbalest of this time may be seen in our woodcut, No. 50.
Ancient Armour and Weapons in Europe John Hewitt

They set out, and the first thing Denys did was to give Gerard his arbalest, etc., and mount a high tree on the road.
The Cloister and the Hearth Charles Reade

On this bird, I deemed, he meant to try his skill with the arbalest.
A Monk of Fife Andrew Lang

Holding the arbalest with one hand, Daoud vaulted into the saddle.
The Saracen: Land of the Infidel Robert Shea

The arrow of the arbalest is sometimes called vireton, from the French virer, on account of its rotary flight.
Ancient Armour and Weapons in Europe John Hewitt

Then opening a large chest that stood against the wall, he rummaged a moment, and at last withdrew an arbalest quarrel.
Love-at-Arms Raphael Sabatini

This distinctive form of the arbalest shaft is carefully kept in view in the illumination from Add.
Ancient Armour and Weapons in Europe John Hewitt

a large medieval crossbow, usually cocked by mechanical means

“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.


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