noun, plural ballistae [buh-lis-tee] .
an ancient military engine for throwing stones or other missiles.

1590–1600; < Latin, probably < Greek *ballistā́s, dialectal variant of *ballistḗs, equivalent to báll(ein) to throw + -istēs -ist Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
ballista (bəˈlɪstə)
n , pl -tae
1.  an ancient catapult for hurling stones, etc
2.  an ancient form of large crossbow used to propel a spear
[C16: from Latin, ultimately from Greek ballein to throw]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

"ancient war engine," 1590s, from L. ballista, lit. "a throwing machine," from Gk. ballein "to throw" (see ballistics).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences for ballista
With the invention of torsion spring bundle technology, the first ballista was built.
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