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an ancient military engine for throwing stones or other missiles.
Historical Examples

The ballista was considerably larger and more expensive than this.
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 5, Slice 5 Various

The ballista (Fig. 229) was in reality a large cross-bow, built to shoot long, heavy bolts or arrows.
The Boy Craftsman A. Neely Hall

No ballista, however, is made without regard to the given amount of weight of the stone which the engine is intended to throw.
Ten Books on Architecture Vitruvius

Like a modern field gun, the ballista shot low and directly toward the enemy.
Artillery Through the Ages Albert Manucy

Various names were applied to these weapons, the chief of which were the ballista and the catapult.
Great Inventions and Discoveries Willis Duff Piercy

Trebuchet, treb′ū-shet, n. a military engine like the ballista.
Chambers’s Twentieth Century Dictionary (part 4 of 4: S-Z and supplements) Various

noun (pl) -tae (-tiː)
an ancient catapult for hurling stones, etc
an ancient form of large crossbow used to propel a spear

ancient war engine, late 14c., from Latin ballista, literally “a throwing machine,” from Greek ballein “to throw” (see ballistics).


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  • Ballistae

    an ancient military engine for throwing stones or other missiles. Historical Examples ballistae are constructed on varying principles to produce an identical result. Ten Books on Architecture Vitruvius In this way the blows of ballistae and the force of fires will be repelled by them. Ten Books on Architecture Vitruvius It is said that from […]

  • Ballistic camera

    a camera for tracking missiles launched at night.

  • Ballistic galvanometer

    a galvanometer used to measure the quantity of electricity in a current of short duration. Historical Examples Between the magnetizing coils is a small induction coil D, which is connected with a ballistic galvanometer. Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 17, Slice 3 Various noun (physics) a type of galvanometer for measuring surges of current. After […]

  • Ballistic missile

    any missile that, after being launched and possibly guided during takeoff, travels unpowered in a ballistic trajectory. Contemporary Examples Russia is also working on new a fleet of ballistic missile submarines, attack submarines to operate under the ice caps. Russia Preps Its North Pole Invasion Dave Majumdar November 7, 2014 noun a missile that has […]

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