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catapeltic definition


This page has two definitions of catapeltic in English. Catapeltic is an adjective and noun. Also define these 0 related words and terms: .



PIE word

The adjective is a learned borrowing from Ancient Greek κᾰτᾰπελτῐκός (katapeltikós, of or for a catapult) + English -ic (suffix meaning ‘of or pertaining to’ forming adjectives from nouns).[1] Κᾰτᾰπελτῐκός (Katapeltikós) is derived from κᾰτᾰπέλτης (katapéltēs) + -ῐκός (-ikós, suffix meaning ‘of or pertaining to’ forming adjectives from nouns); while κᾰτᾰπέλτης (katapéltēs) is a literary form of κᾰτᾰπᾰ́λτης (katapáltēs, catapult; torture instrument), from κᾰτᾰ- (kata-, prefix meaning ‘against’) + πάλλω (pállō, to poise or sway a missile before it is thrown; to brandish a weapon; (passive) to swing or dash oneself) (ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *pel- (to beat; to drive; to push)) + -της (-tēs, suffix forming masculine agent nouns).[2]

The noun is derived from the adjective.[1]



catapeltic (not comparable)

  1. (military, weaponry, archaic) Pertaining to a catapult or catapults.
    Synonym: catapultic
    • 1835, William Martin Leake, “Illyria, Epirus”, in Travels in Northern Greece. [], volume I, London: J. Rodwell, [], OCLC 969041974, page 386:
      [T]he superior discipline and skill of the Romans were fully compensated by the strength of position and the catapeltic engines of the Macedonians.
    • 1841, William Martin Leake, “Section IX. Of Maritime Athens, and Its Divisions, Peiræeus, Munychia, and Phalerum.—Their Harbours, Monuments, and Fortifications.”, in The Topography of Athens. With Some Remarks on Its Antiquities, 2nd edition, London: [] J. Rodwell, [], OCLC 1169860231, page 409:
      [Dionysius, governor of the Cassandrian garrison of Munychia] held out valiantly for two days; but at length the superior forces of the enemy, and the mischief done by their catapeltic engines, drove the defenders from the walls, when Demetrius [of Phalerum] entered the fortress, Dionysius was taken, and his garrison laid down their arms: []
    • 1848 February 24–March 23, William Martin Leake, “VII.—Topographical and Historical Notes on Syracuse.”, in Transactions of the Royal Society of Literature of the United Kingdom, volume III (Second Series), London: John Murray, [], published 1850, OCLC 301010011, page 255:
      The western or outer, which was the narrowest front of the fortress, consisted of four towers of solid regular masonry connected by walls of equal breadth, but lower than the towers, so that balistic or catapeltic engines might be mounted upon the walls between the towers, like cannon in embrasures.
    • 1859, Baron Stow, “Considerations that Render Christian Union Desirable”, in Christian Brotherhood: A Letter to the Hon. Heman Lincoln, Boston, Mass.: Gould and Lincoln, [], OCLC 68782869, pages 64–65:
      Has not the pulpit, which was ordained to the exhibition of Christ crucified as the Healer of human woe, been made the arena of inflammatory debate, the platform of catapeltic controversy, destructive rather than conservative, more the instrument of the Furies than of the Graces?
    • 1918, James Oliver Curwood, chapter XXIV, in The Courage of Marge O’Doone, Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, Page & Co., [], OCLC 1897201, page 263:
      It missed the other's jaw by two inches, that catapeltic blow—striking him full in the mouth, breaking his yellow teeth and smashing his thick lips so that the blood sprang out in a spray over his hairy chest, and as his head rocked backward David followed with a swift left-hander, and a second time missed the jaw with his right—but drenched his clenched fist in blood.
    • 2010, Michael Fontaine, “Equivocation and Other Ambiguities”, in Funny Words in Plautine Comedy, New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press, →ISBN, page 118:
      Today I will transform you into a catapeltic arrow, / and I'll send you spinning like a missile from a catapult.
      A translation of lines 689–690 from the Latin play Curculio (The Weevil) by the Roman playwright Plautus (c. 254 – 184 B.C.E.).

Related terms



catapeltic (plural catapeltics)

  1. (military, weaponry, obsolete, rare) A catapult.
    • 1808, William Mitford, “Affairs of the Sicilian and Italian Greek Cities, from the Establishment of the Syracusan Empire to the Death of Dionysius”, in The History of Greece, volume IV, London: [] Luke Hansard & Sons, [], for T[homas] Cadell and W[illiam] Davies, [], OCLC 1037357231, section I, page 69:
      That artillery which afterward so much promoted the victories of the Roman armies, machinery for shooting darts and stones of size far beyond the strength of man's arm to throw, (Diodorus [Siculus] calls it the catapeltic) was now either invented, or first perfected, so as to be valuable for practice.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Compare “catapeltic, adj. and n.”, in OED Online , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, June 2021.
  2. ^ Compare “catapult, n.”, in OED Online , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, December 2021; “catapult, n.”, in Lexico,; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.

Further reading