One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A crossbow with a special mechanism for drawing back and releasing the string.
- ‘However he saw several light arbalests being set up, aimed at the tower.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘A crossbow device, larger than an arbalest but smaller than a ballista, was called a scorpion.’
- ‘There was a shout of triumph as the carpenters struggling with the recalcitrant arbalest finally managed to string the bow.’
Old English arblast, from Old French arbaleste, from late Latin arcubalista, from Latin arcus ‘bow’ + ballista (see ballista).
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