Definition of javelin in English:



  • 1A light spear thrown in a competitive sport or as a weapon.

    • ‘To gain some protection by distancing themselves from the dangers of close combat, early fighters used throwing weapons - slings, bows, javelins, and spears.’
    • ‘Yet he did not spy any bows or arrows, javelins, or other weapons that could strike at a distance.’
    • ‘The Normans started to ride along the Saxon line, throwing in javelins.’
    • ‘The horseman asks no more than his shield and spear, but the infantry have also javelins to shower, several per man, and they can hurl them to a great distance; for they are either naked or only lightly clad in their cloaks.’
    • ‘Already, scores of mercenaries were surrounding the camp, pelting it with flaming arrows and a whole assortment of javelins and throwing spears.’
    • ‘The Nubian lances were more than double the length of the Roman javelins, and the Romans were outnumbered three to one.’
    • ‘They took up their long, pointed spear-like javelins and hurled them across the playing field.’
    • ‘Weaponry consisted of battleaxes, thrusting spears and daggers for the infantry, while the leaders in their battlewagons carry sheafs of javelins.’
    • ‘Gruelling training timetables included drills with javelins, slings, shields and 18-ft spears.’
    • ‘And every time, as the Romans fell back on the column, the Jews returned to resume the barrage of javelins and slingshot.’
    • ‘They were poised to throw their spears and javelins but I had a sudden impulse to stop them.’
    • ‘Until the early fifth century, this was a matter of putting up scaling ladders or constructing a siege mound against the city-wall while bombarding the battlements with javelins, arrows, and stones.’
    • ‘I don't think Boudica would have been using a chariot at all - it takes two horses and two warriors to throw one set of javelins from a chariot, which is inefficient in anyone's book.’
    • ‘Some were dueling away with wooden swords, and others were throwing javelins at targets.’
    • ‘The rulebook says that the javelin is constructed of three parts: the head, the shaft, and the grip.’
    • ‘Light cavalry carried a small sword and two or three javelins while the heavy force was equipped with scimitar, mace and a 4 meter lance.’
    • ‘On all sides, ignoring him, barbarian mercenaries brandished their javelins, bows, pikes, two-edged swords.’
    • ‘There he was, just 18 and at the start of a promising career, hurling javelins around as if they were paper aeroplanes and delighting in the accolades and awards bestowed upon him.’
    • ‘I was trained up from my earliest years in the art of war, my daily exercise was shooting and throwing javelins, and my mother adorned me with emblems after the manner of our greatest warriors.’
    • ‘Even the powerful moose knew to beware the swift javelins of avarii hunters.’
    spear, pike, bayonet, shaft
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1the javelin The athletic sport of throwing a javelin.
      ‘his nearest rival in the javelin’
      • ‘The ancient Greeks pioneered several complex athletic techniques, especially in events such as the javelin and long-jump.’
      • ‘I think this time round I'm just going to be concentrating on doing some throwing events, like the javelin, the discus and the shot putt.’
      • ‘She also won gold at other athletics events including the javelin, cross-country and 100m.’
      • ‘Lewis resumes action in the Olympic Stadium today in the long jump before the event concludes with the javelin and 800m where she has made a vast improvement this year.’
      • ‘There were ten events, including tossing the caber and throwing the javelin!’


Late Middle English: from Old French javeline, of Celtic origin.