Definition of trebuchet in US English:



  • A machine used in medieval siege warfare for hurling large stones or other missiles.

    • ‘In retaliation, catapults, trebuchets and arrows from the Bismarck archers rained down on the Mongols.’
    • ‘And in times of trouble the Pumpkin will always be ready to be flung from our trebuchet in any direction worthy of it.’
    • ‘In part, this stress on strong outer defences was a reaction to new and more powerful weapons, including crossbows and siege machines such as mangonels and trebuchets capable of throwing heavy rocks.’
    • ‘The trebuchet allows the flower to throw pollen further than a simple catapult would, she said.’
    • ‘‘Bunchberry stamens are designed like miniature medieval trebuchets - specialized catapults that maximize throwing distance by having the payload attached to the throwing arm by a hinge or flexible strap,’ Edwards said.’
    • ‘As if that were not enough, a second trebuchet was built to a French design using a huge swinging ballast-filled basket as a counterweight.’
    • ‘Build your own trebuchet and start flinging things at the neighbours.’
    • ‘I will assemble catapults, mangonels, trebuckets and other instruments…’
    • ‘But what spurred him to build one was, as he puts it, " my nutter cousin " in Northumberland, who put together a pint-sized trebuchet for a county fair.’
    • ‘The close-quarter action photography with gristle and bone is spliced with dizzy shots of flying masonry launched by ginormous trebuchets.’
    • ‘Unconventional contrivances and machina arcana include a range of desktop siege weapons including miniature trebuchets, ballistae, and mangonels.’
    • ‘They, like catapults, trebuchets, and siege engines, were made mainly of wood.’
    • ‘Catapults of the Middle Ages were divided into two major groups: ballistas, and trebuchets.’
    • ‘The enemy had approached in the predawn to within a few hundred yards, and a big trebuchet was hurling rocks at them.’
    • ‘He was still inside the citadel, propped up against a wall behind a massive trebuchet, a stationary artillery weapon that could fling much larger weights, and over much greater distances than a catapult.’
    • ‘Tewkesbury Battle Field Society proved a great draw, with a potato-throwing trebuchet (a hurling device), raising money for the proposed statues, models of which were on display on their stand.’
    • ‘That led in turn to Greek Fire - a napalm-like substance that could be tossed in small amounts, like a grenade, or in tubs using trebuchets.’
    • ‘Drawn toward the city gates, they fell victim to an array of crossbows and trebuchets from within the city defenses.’
    • ‘Intrigued by Leonardo da Vinci's drawing of a machine capable of slinging dead horses over a long distance, he reckoned the ‘war wolf’ was a monster trebuchet, a gravity-powered catapult first developed in China.’
    • ‘Torsion and counterpoise engines of war - ballistae and trebuchets - could be made in situ with local materials - timber and fibre.’


Middle English: from Old French, from trebucher ‘overthrow’.