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

The word 'catapult' comes from the Latin 'catapulta', which in turn comes from the Greek καταπέλτης (katapeltēs), itself from (kata), "downwards" + πάλλω (pallō), "to toss, to hurl"


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


A catapult is a device used to throw or hurl a projectile a great distance without the aid of explosive devices—particularly various types of ancient and medieval siege engines. Although the catapult has been used since ancient times, it has proven to be one of the most effective mechanisms during warfare. Catapults were invented by the ancient Greeks.[1]