jav·​e·​lin | \ˈjav-lən, ˈja-və-\

Definition of javelin 

1 : a light spear thrown as a weapon of war or in hunting

2a : a slender usually metal shaft at least 260 centimeters long that is thrown for distance in an athetic field event

b or javelin throw : an athletic field event in which a javelin is thrown for distance won the gold medal in the javelin … Serene Ross, who set her second American record in three weeks in the javelin throw in winning at 197 feet.— Frank Litsky

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Synonyms for javelin


lance, pike, pikestaff, shaft, spear

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Examples of javelin in a Sentence

from atop his horse the warrior hurled a javelin that pierced the chest of his hapless foe

Recent Examples on the Web

Mirabelli probably has been the best javelin thrower in the state the last two track seasons. Phil Anastasia, Philly.com, "Rancocas Valley javelin star Nick Mirabelli is ready for Saturday's Meet of Champions," 7 June 2018 Senior Shira Stoller won the javelin (144-06) and placed third in the discus throw (112-08). Josh Schafer, BostonGlobe.com, "Woburn boys’, Sharon girls’ claim first titles," 29 May 2018 Mississippi State freshman Anderson Peters set a meet record by throwing the javelin a winning distance of 271 feet, 9 inches to break the record of 270-11 by Ioannis Kyriazis of Texas A&M last year. Tim Brown, OregonLive.com, "MLB draft: Parker Kelly of Oregon Ducks selected by St. Louis Cardinals, could join his brother Carson in big leagues," 6 June 2018 His cousin, Haley, once was the U.S. girls record-holder in the javelin. Ken Goe, OregonLive.com, "Ryan Crouser picks the right time to reset the Prefontaine Classic shot record," 26 May 2018 His long jump was 26 feet, 3 1/2 inches; shot put, 43-1 3/4; high jump, 6-11 3/4; discus, 140-3; pole vault, 16-9 1/4; javelin, 187-11. Richard Obert, azcentral, "Former Arcadia athlete Tim Duckworth wins NCAA decathlon championship," 8 June 2018 Harris won the gold medal in the 15-16 age group last year in Detroit, Michigan and set personal-best marks in the high jump, javelin throw, pole vault, 1500-meter run, 400-meter run and hurdles. Alex Kushel, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Boynton track club trio blitz to top efforts at national meet," 7 July 2018 USA Track & Field wraps up the weekend action at the Texas Relays, Florida Relays and Stanford Invitational, and makes note of Bucknell freshman Maura Fiamoncini's javelin throw of 184-5. OregonLive.com, "Gwen Jorgensen makes the running community take notice: Oregon track & field rundown," 3 Apr. 2018 Chavez threw the javelin for 22.25 meters, according to results. Rafael Guerrero, Elgin Courier-News, "St. Charles East grad becomes Special Olympian, earning 2 gold, 2 silver medals in USA Games," 12 July 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for javelin

Middle English chafeveleyn, from Middle French javeline, alteration of javelot, of Celt origin; akin to Old Irish gabul forked stick

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Dictionary Entries near javelin



javel green



javelin bat


Statistics for javelin

Last Updated

7 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for javelin

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

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More Definitions for javelin



English Language Learners Definition of javelin

: a long spear that people throw as far as they can as a sport

the javelin : an event in which people compete by trying to throw a javelin farther than everyone else


jav·​e·​lin | \ˈjav-lən, ˈja-və-lən\

Kids Definition of javelin

1 : a light spear

2 : a slender rod thrown for distance in a track-and-field contest ( javelin throw )

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Comments on javelin

What made you want to look up javelin? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


by force of circumstances

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