caltrop

[kal-truhp]
noun
1.
any of several plants having spiny heads or fruit, as those of the genera Tribulus and Kallstroemia, or the star thistle, Centaurea calcitrapa.
2.
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-thruhp] , caltrap.


Origin:
before 1000; Middle English calketrappe, Old English calcatrippe, colte-træppe, equivalent to calce- (< Latin calci-, stem of calx spur, heel) + træppe trap1

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
caltrop, caltrap or calthrop (ˈkæltrəp, ˈkælθrəp)
 
n
1.  any tropical or subtropical plant of the zygophyllaceous genera Tribulus and Kallstroemia that have spiny burs or bracts
2.  water caltrop another name for water chestnut
3.  another name for the star thistle
4.  military a four-spiked iron ball or four joined spikes laid upon the ground as a device to lame cavalry horses, puncture tyres, etc
 
[Old English calcatrippe (the plant), from Medieval Latin calcatrippa, probably from Latin calx heel + trippatrap1]
 
caltrap, caltrap or calthrop
 
n
 
[Old English calcatrippe (the plant), from Medieval Latin calcatrippa, probably from Latin calx heel + trippatrap1]
 
calthrop, caltrap or calthrop
 
n
 
[Old English calcatrippe (the plant), from Medieval Latin calcatrippa, probably from Latin calx heel + trippatrap1]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Example sentences
Running battles in combat-centric role-playing games can be as painful as stepping on a caltrop.
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