One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A crossbow with a special mechanism for drawing back and releasing the string.
- ‘A crossbow device, larger than an arbalest but smaller than a ballista, was called a scorpion.’
- ‘However he saw several light arbalests being set up, aimed at the tower.’
- ‘There was a shout of triumph as the carpenters struggling with the recalcitrant arbalest finally managed to string the bow.’
- ‘Bahzell unloaded the arbalest and released the string with a snap while he waded through the grass.’
- ‘The only things that were in decent repair were the few arbalest and catapults, mainly maintained, I suspected, for show.’
Old English arblast, from Old French arbaleste, from late Latin arcubalista, from Latin arcus ‘bow’ + ballista (see ballista).
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