hal·​berd | \ ˈhal-bərd How to pronounce halberd (audio) , ˈhȯl- How to pronounce halberd (audio) \
variants: or less commonly halbert \ ˈhal-​bərt How to pronounce halberd (audio) , ˈhȯl-​ \

Definition of halberd

: a weapon especially of the 15th and 16th centuries consisting typically of a battle-ax and pike mounted on a handle about six feet long

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A weapon that consists of an ax blade and a sharp spike mounted on the end of a staff, usually about 5–6 ft (1.5–2 m) long, a halberd was an important weapon in middle Europe in the 15th and early 16th centuries. It enabled a foot soldier to contend with an armored man riding on horseback; the spiked head kept the rider at a distance, and the ax blade could strike a heavy cleaving blow. Firearms and the declining use of armor made the halberd obsolete.

Examples of halberd in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Among them was Stan Wollman, 69, a member of the New Plimmoth Gard, who was dressed in the armor-plated uniform of a pike officer, complete with a halberd — a long, pole-like weapon tipped with a blade. BostonGlobe.com, 24 Nov. 2019 For the uninitiated, a halberd is a medieval weapon that looks like a combination of a spear and an axe. cleveland.com, 18 May 2017 Words like halberd and basilisk became part of my daily vocabulary. Ethan Gilsdorf, WIRED, 2 Feb. 2012 Ten minutes later, the president’s motorcade was greeted by Swiss Guards who stood to attention with their halberds and ostrich-plumed helmets. Margaret Talev, Bloomberg.com, 24 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'halberd.' 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 halberd

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for halberd

Middle English, from Middle French hallebarde, from Middle High German helmbarte, from helm handle + barte ax

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The first known use of halberd was in the 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Halberd.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/halberd. Accessed 24 Jan. 2022.

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Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about halberd


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