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[kat-uh-puhlt, -poo lt] /ˈkæt əˌpʌlt, -ˌpʊlt/
an ancient military engine for hurling stones, arrows, etc.
a device for launching an airplane from the deck of a ship.
British. a slingshot.
verb (used with object)
to hurl from a catapult.
to thrust or move quickly or suddenly:
His brilliant performance in the play catapulted him to stardom.
  1. to hurl (a missile) from a slingshot.
  2. to hit (an object) with a missile from a slingshot.
verb (used without object)
to be catapulted.
to move or spring up suddenly, quickly, or forcibly, as if by means of a catapult:
The car catapulted down the highway. When he heard the alarm he catapulted out of bed.
Origin of catapult
1570-80; < Latin catapulta < Greek katapéltēs, equivalent to kata- cata- + péltēs hurler, akin to pállein to hurl
Related forms
catapultic, adjective
5. throw, fling, propel, pitch, shoot. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for catapult
  • They believed that there must be some sort of biological spring or catapult that launches the tongue on its culinary quest.
  • The second project describes a catapult that uses a spoon to launch candy through the air.
  • As a consequence, he has made few of the moves needed to catapult himself to star status.
  • Then your opponent uses a little catapult to fling little plastic birds at the structure, scoring points for knocking it down.
  • The catapult is a device that hurls heavy objects or arrows over a large distance.
  • We will achieve this objective by completing development of an improved method for measuring the catapult slot width.
  • The pilot drives the plane to a catapult which connects to the plane.
  • He also has participated in engineering challenges including catapult and hovercraft building.
British Dictionary definitions for catapult


a Y-shaped implement with a loop of elastic fastened to the ends of the two prongs, used mainly by children for shooting small stones, etc US and Canadian name slingshot
a heavy war engine used formerly for hurling stones, etc
a device installed in warships to launch aircraft
(transitive) to shoot forth from or as if from a catapult
foll by over, into, etc. to move precipitately: she was catapulted to stardom overnight
Word Origin
C16: from Latin catapulta, from Greek katapeltēs, from kata- down + pallein to hurl
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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Word Origin and History for catapult

1570s, from Middle French catapulte and directly from Latin catapulta "war machine for throwing," from Greek katapeltes, from kata "against" (see cata-) + base of pallein "to toss, hurl" (see pulse (n.1)). As an airplane-launching device on an aircraft-carrier by 1927.


1848, "to throw with a catapult," from catapult (n.). Intransitive sense by 1928. Related: Catapulted; catapulting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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