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Native American throwing stick, 1871, from Nahuatl (Aztec) atlatl "spear-thrower."
a device for throwing a spear (or dart) usually consisting of a rod or board with a groove on the upper surface and a hook, thong, or projection at the rear end to hold the weapon in place until its release. Its purpose is to give greater velocity and force to the spear. In use from prehistoric times, the spear-thrower was used to efficiently fell animals as large as the mammoth.