jav·​e·​lin | \ ˈjav-lən, ˈja-və- How to pronounce javelin (audio) \

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 athletic 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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for javelin


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 In his Auburn debut, Nils Fisher set a school record in the javelin throw with a mark of 73.69m/241-9 to win the event. Giana Han, al, "Weekly Auburn roundup: Soccer avenges November loss to Alabama," 29 Mar. 2021 Joshua Johnson, a three-time Bruin all-America javelin thrower, is managing director at a commercial real estate firm. Los Angeles Times, "Appreciation: Appreciating Rafer Johnson as more than a great athlete, but a great man," 2 Dec. 2020 Zaharias won gold medals in both the hurdles and the javelin, and a silver medal for the high jump, but only after she was adjudged to have used an improper technique in a jump-off after tying with fellow American Jean Shiley. Ben Morse, CNN, "The 'greatest all-sport athlete' who helped revolutionize women's golf," 8 Sep. 2020 Abovitz studied biomedical engineering, drew cartoons and threw javelin at the University of Miami. Fortune, "Magic Leap tried to create an alternate reality. Its founder was already in one," 26 Sep. 2020 Women, however, were unable to enter more than three events, so Zaharias participated in the javelin, high jump and 80m hurdles. Ben Morse, CNN, "The 'greatest all-sport athlete' who helped revolutionize women's golf," 8 Sep. 2020 Didrikson began her Games by taking gold in the javelin. Joe Reedy, Star Tribune, "Los Angeles' first Olympics set template for future Games," 30 July 2020 Winger, 34, the former Purdue javelin thrower from Vancouver, Wash., tore the anterior cruciate ligament of her left knee in a meet Aug. 1 at Ruthdrum, Idaho. David Woods, The Indianapolis Star, "Olympics notes: Sloan joins gymnastics hall; Purdue's Winger injured," 11 Aug. 2020 Zatopek is the same man who, in England, while waiting for the 1948 London Olympics to start, courted his wife, then Dana Ingrova, by playing catch with her with a javelin. Milt Marmor, Star Tribune, "AP WAS THERE: 1952 Helsinki Games," 2 Aug. 2020

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.

See More

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 Celtic origin; akin to Old Irish gabul forked stick

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about javelin

Time Traveler for javelin

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for javelin

Last Updated

7 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Javelin.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/javelin. Accessed 11 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for javelin



English Language Learners Definition of javelin

: a long spear that people throw as far as they can as a sport
: an event in which people compete by trying to throw a javelin farther than everyone else


jav·​e·​lin | \ ˈjav-lən How to pronounce javelin (audio) , 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 )

Keep scrolling for more

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!