cat·​a·​pult | \ ˈka-tə-ˌpəlt How to pronounce catapult (audio) , -ˌpu̇lt \

Definition of catapult

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an ancient military device for hurling missiles
2 : a device for launching an airplane at flying speed (as from an aircraft carrier)


catapulted; catapulting; catapults

Definition of catapult (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to throw or launch by or as if by a catapult

intransitive verb

: to become catapulted he catapulted to fame

Illustration of catapult

Illustration of catapult


catapult 1

In the meaning defined above

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Synonyms for catapult

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of catapult in a Sentence

Verb They catapulted rocks toward the castle. The publicity catapulted her CD to the top of the charts. The novel catapulted him from unknown to best-selling author. He catapulted to fame after his first book was published. Her career was catapulting ahead.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The catapult was Frantz by prolific French auteur François Ozon, who, judging by his feature-a-year filmography, never seems to stop working. Jack King, Vulture, 7 June 2021 These are launched from a catapult, have a full autopilot system, and can fly for around 40 minutes. Stephanie Bailey, CNN, 27 May 2021 However, a flat-deck Type 003 carrier under construction introduces an electromagnetic catapult system, which should unshackle the performance of embarked air wings. Sebastien Roblin, Forbes, 20 Apr. 2021 The Charles de Gaulle uses a similar catapult system to launch jets as U.S. carriers do, meaning their fighters can operate from each other’s decks. James Marson, WSJ, 23 Dec. 2020 Pumpkin Chunkin, a competition of hurling pumpkins across fields with a catapult, is based on the ancient Saxon practice of shooting back the heads of their enemies, originally known as Noggin Floggin. Washington Post, 10 Dec. 2020 Since 1986, Delaware was known for hosting the annual Punkin Chunkin in Sussex County the first weekend after Halloween, a competition consisting of hurling gourds as far as possibly by human muscle, catapult, centrifuge, trebuchet or air cannon. Washington Post, 16 Nov. 2020 In years past, Coyote Run Golf Course has offered child-friendly mini sledgehammers to bust open pumpkins, dropped them for the children from a bucket lift and let rip with a catapult while taking aim at a dumpster with a bull’s-eye. Bill Jones,, 8 Nov. 2020 Gregory Nachman, a Dartmoor Road resident, had some fun designing a table-top catapult to fling his treats towards visitors. John Kuntz, cleveland, 1 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Individual tokens can dive or catapult in a single hour, and longtime investors have gone through cycles of upswings and downturns. Arkansas Online, 20 May 2021 The Musical: The Series star Olivia Rodrigo leveraged the platform to catapult into unprecedented virality and instant stardom. Natalie Morin,, 26 Apr. 2021 For the Wolves to catapult themselves into playoff contention, there simply isn't space on the roster for four guards who only specializes on one end of the court. Morten Jensen, Forbes, 20 May 2021 Higuera made team history on March 27 by kicking a last-second, 49-yard field goal to catapult ACU to a 23-20 win over Southwestern Assemblies of God University, clinching the Sooner Athletic Conference Championship. Javier Arce, The Arizona Republic, 14 Apr. 2021 By tapping into the rising popularity of the NFT ecosystem, Winkelmann and many other artists have captured the opportunity to reach new levels of public exposure and catapult themselves to the top of the art world. Leeor Shimron, Forbes, 13 May 2021 From 1995 to 2019, ticket sales increased nearly 7000%, according to government statistics, enough to catapult it to the status of the second biggest movie market in the world. Laura He, CNN, 6 May 2021 The immigration issue helped catapult former President Donald Trump into the White House in 2016. Kerry Picket, Washington Examiner, 12 Apr. 2021 Mayor Suarez has done an incredible job to catapult attention and attract business to the area, solidifying our city as a world-class place to live and work and not just as a destination. Peter Lane Taylor, Forbes, 6 May 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'catapult.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of catapult


1577, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1848, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for catapult


Middle French or Latin; Middle French catapulte, from Latin catapulta, from Greek katapaltēs, from kata- + pallein to hurl

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Time Traveler for catapult

Time Traveler

The first known use of catapult was in 1577

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Statistics for catapult

Last Updated

13 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Catapult.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for catapult



English Language Learners Definition of catapult

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an ancient weapon used for throwing large rocks
: a device for launching an airplane from the deck of an aircraft carrier



English Language Learners Definition of catapult (Entry 2 of 2)

: to throw (something) with a catapult
: to cause (someone or something) to quickly move up or ahead or to a better position
: to quickly move up or ahead : to quickly advance to a better position


cat·​a·​pult | \ ˈka-tə-ˌpəlt How to pronounce catapult (audio) \

Kids Definition of catapult

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an ancient military machine for hurling stones and arrows
2 : a device for launching an airplane from the deck of a ship


catapulted; catapulting

Kids Definition of catapult (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to throw by or as if by a catapult She catapulted herself out of the door.— Louise Fitzhugh, Harriet the Spy
2 : to quickly advance The movie role catapulted her to fame.


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