at·​latl ˈät-ˌlä-tᵊl How to pronounce atlatl (audio)
: a device for throwing a spear or dart that consists of a rod or board with a projection (such as a hook) at the rear end to hold the weapon in place until released

Illustration of atlatl

Illustration of atlatl
  • A atlatl

Examples of atlatl in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The atlatl measured a little more than a foot and a half long, and the darts were between about 2 feet to 2 and a half feet long. Moira Ritter, Miami Herald, 25 Jan. 2024 Among their finds, archaeologists identified an atlatl, which is a spear-like dart thrower, and two wooden darts. Moira Ritter, Miami Herald, 25 Jan. 2024 Like the atlatl, mastering the sling took practice and technique, but when spun and released with expertise, a sling could hurl a small rock a distance of several hundred yards at speeds estimated to be anywhere from 60 to 100 miles per hour and with bone-crushing force. Stephen C. George, Discover Magazine, 7 Dec. 2023 The tiny experimental points were used as arrowheads and shot by bow or atlatl, and the resulting fractures were compared with the scars found on the archeological material. Laure Metz, Discover Magazine, 15 Mar. 2023 Beside the bones were several stone projectile points that likely were used with an atlatl, as well as other equipment for butchering an animal and tanning its hide. Kate Baggaley, Popular Science, 4 Nov. 2020 The weapon of choice at that time -- a spear known as an atlatl -- had low accuracy, encouraging broad participation, and using it was a skill learned from childhood. Katie Hunt, CNN, 4 Nov. 2020 Watch stomp dancers and hoop dancing, learn about Native American beadwork and pottery, and try your hand at throwing an atlatl, an ancient type of spear. National Geographic, 21 Oct. 2019 Create cave paintings, learn to hunt using an atlatl and spear, listen to stories about the Dena’ina way of life, make a Yup’ik-style mask, and check out the life-sized inflatable mammoth known as Pingo Peat. Anchorage Daily News, 17 Oct. 2019

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'atlatl.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Nahuatl ahtlatl

First Known Use

1871, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of atlatl was in 1871

Dictionary Entries Near atlatl

Cite this Entry

“Atlatl.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Apr. 2024.

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