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[kal-truh p] /ˈkæl trəp/
any of several plants having spiny heads or fruit, as those of the genera Tribulus and Kallstroemia, or the star thistle, Centaurea calcitrapa.
an iron ball with four projecting spikes so disposed that when the ball is on the ground one of them always points upward: used to obstruct the passage of cavalry, armored vehicles, etc.
Also, calthrop
[kal-thruh p] /ˈkæl θrəp/ (Show IPA),
Origin of caltrop
before 1000; Middle English calketrappe, Old English calcatrippe, colte-træppe, equivalent to calce- (< Latin calci-, stem of calx spur, heel) + træppe trap1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for calthrop
Historical Examples
  • Later he goes to see Mr. calthrop, and wears his white suit with silver lace, having left off his great skirt-coat.

    English Costume Dion Clayton Calthrop
  • Outside his own immediate circle Mr. calthrop has laboured with much effect.

    The Religious Life of London J. Ewing Ritchie
  • The North of London is favoured as regards clergymen, and Mr. calthrop is a favourable specimen of his class.

    The Religious Life of London J. Ewing Ritchie
  • Then Captain calthrop broke away and danced by himself, kicking his legs up in the air.

    Combed Out Fritz August Voigt
  • He lay back and turned his head to one side and looked towards the next table on which Captain calthrop was amputating an arm.

    Combed Out Fritz August Voigt
  • The Maid, however, had been wounded in the foot by a calthrop, and was besides mortally weary.

    Joan of Arc Laura E. Richards
  • calthrop rode, & likewise of the Gresholme, whereof I find this short description.

British Dictionary definitions for calthrop


any tropical or subtropical plant of the zygophyllaceous genera Tribulus and Kallstroemia that have spiny burs or bracts
water caltrop, another name for water chestnut (sense 1)
another name for the star thistle
(military) a four-spiked iron ball or four joined spikes laid upon the ground as a device to lame cavalry horses, puncture tyres, etc
Word Origin
Old English calcatrippe (the plant), from Medieval Latin calcatrippa, probably from Latin calx heel + trippatrap1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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