Definition of javelin in English:



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

    • ‘Yet he did not spy any bows or arrows, javelins, or other weapons that could strike at a distance.’
    • ‘On all sides, ignoring him, barbarian mercenaries brandished their javelins, bows, pikes, two-edged swords.’
    • ‘And every time, as the Romans fell back on the column, the Jews returned to resume the barrage of javelins and slingshot.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The Normans started to ride along the Saxon line, throwing in javelins.’
    • ‘The rulebook says that the javelin is constructed of three parts: the head, the shaft, and the grip.’
    • ‘They were poised to throw their spears and javelins but I had a sudden impulse to stop them.’
    • ‘Even the powerful moose knew to beware the swift javelins of avarii hunters.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Some were dueling away with wooden swords, and others were throwing javelins at targets.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They took up their long, pointed spear-like javelins and hurled them across the playing field.’
    • ‘Gruelling training timetables included drills with javelins, slings, shields and 18-ft spears.’
    • ‘To gain some protection by distancing themselves from the dangers of close combat, early fighters used throwing weapons - slings, bows, javelins, and spears.’
    • ‘The Nubian lances were more than double the length of the Roman javelins, and the Romans were outnumbered three to one.’
    • ‘Weaponry consisted of battleaxes, thrusting spears and daggers for the infantry, while the leaders in their battlewagons carry sheafs of javelins.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Already, scores of mercenaries were surrounding the camp, pelting it with flaming arrows and a whole assortment of javelins and throwing spears.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    spear, pike, bayonet, shaft
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1the javelin The athletic sport of throwing a javelin.
      ‘his nearest rival in the javelin’
      • ‘There were ten events, including tossing the caber and throwing the javelin!’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She also won gold at other athletics events including the javelin, cross-country and 100m.’
      • ‘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.’


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