Definition of arbalest
: a crossbow especially of medieval times
arbalest was our Word of the Day on 01/27/2012. Hear the podcast!
Did You Know?
The arbalest was the distance weapon of choice for medieval armies. It was first mentioned in 1100 in The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, a historical record of Saxon England. In 1622 British historian Peter Heylyn wrote that Richard the Lion-Hearted, the 12th-century English monarch, was "slain by a shot from an Arbalist." The crossbow's name is one of many terms that came into English from Old French when the Normans took control of England after the Battle of Hastings; our word is adapted from "arbaleste," the French name of the weapon. The French, in turn, derived their word from a combination of Latin arcus (meaning "bow") and "ballista" ("an ancient crossbow for hurling large missiles").
Origin and Etymology of arbalest
Middle English arblast, from Anglo-French arblaste, arcbaleste, from Late Latin arcuballista, from Latin arcus bow + ballista — more at arrow
First Known Use: before 12th century
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