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catapult

catapult (kăt´əpŭlt´), mechanism used to throw missiles in ancient and medieval warfare. At first, catapults were specifically designed to shoot spears or other missiles at a low trajectory (see bow and arrow). They were originally distinguished from ballistae and trebuchets, both of which were large military engines used to hurl stones and other missiles, but these distinctions later blurred. Later, larger catapults mounted on a single arm also hurled stones, pots of boiling oil, and incendiaries at a high trajectory. They were used to attack or defend fortifications. Catapults were widely employed in siege warfare, but with the introduction of artillery they passed from use. In the 20th cent. catapults using hydraulic pressure were reintroduced to launch aircraft from warships.

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catapult

cat·a·pult / ˈkatəˌpəlt; -ˌpoŏlt/ • n. a device in which accumulated tension is suddenly released to hurl an object some distance, in particular: ∎  hist. a military machine worked by a lever and ropes for hurling large stones or other missiles. ∎  a mechanical device for launching a glider or other aircraft, esp. from the deck of a ship. • v. [tr.] hurl or launch (something) in a specified direction with or as if with a catapult: their music catapulted them to the top of the charts. ∎  [intr.] move suddenly or at great speed as though hurled by a catapult: the horse catapulted away from the fence.

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catapult

catapult (mil.) missile engine XVI; shooting instrument consisting of a forked stick with elastic band XIX. — (O)F. catapulte or L. catapulta — Gr. katapéltēs, f. CATA- 1 + *pel-, var. base of pállein hurl.

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catapult

catapult •gestalt • asphalt •belt, Celt, dealt, dwelt, felt, gelt, knelt, melt, misdealt, pelt, Scheldt, smelt, spelt, svelte, veld, welt •fan belt • seat belt • lifebelt • sunbelt •rust belt • Copperbelt • heartfelt •underfelt • backveld • bushveld •Roosevelt •atilt, built, gilt, guilt, hilt, jilt, kilt, lilt, quilt, silt, spilt, stilt, tilt, upbuilt, wilt •Vanderbilt • volte •assault, Balt, exalt, fault, halt, malt, salt, smalt, vault •cobalt • stringhalt • basalt •somersault • polevault •bolt, colt, dolt, holt, jolt, moult (US molt), poult, smolt, volt •deadbolt • Humboldt • thunderbolt •megavolt • spoilt • Iseult •consult, cult, exult, indult, insult, penult, result, ult •adult • occult • tumult • catapult •difficult • Hasselt

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