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  1. a powerful medieval crossbow with a steel bow, used to shoot stones, metal balls, arrows, etc.


  1. a large medieval crossbow, usually cocked by mechanical means

“crossbow,” c.1300, from Old French arbaleste “large crossbow with a crank” (12c., Modern French arbal├Ęte), from Vulgar Latin arbalista, from Late Latin arcuballista “catapult,” from Latin arcus “bow” (see arc (n.)) + ballista “machine for throwing projectiles” (see ballistic). German armbrust is from the same French word but mangled by folk etymology.

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