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)
: 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 Also, his halberd starts fritzing on the floor before fading out of existence, a reminder that this is all virtual reality—or rather, VR within VR, the metatextual framing of Ubisoft’s latest Assassin’s Creed game. WIRED, 16 Nov. 2023 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 examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'halberd.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near halberd

Cite this Entry

“Halberd.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/halberd. Accessed 20 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


hal·​berd ˈhal-bərd How to pronounce halberd (audio) ˈhȯl- How to pronounce halberd (audio)
variants also halbert
: a long-handled weapon used both as a spear and as a battle-ax especially in the 15th and 16th centuries

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