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From Middle French catapulte, from Latin catapulta, from Ancient Greek καταπέλτης (katapéltēs), from κατά (katá, downwards, into, against) + πάλλω (pállō, I poise or sway a missile before it is thrown).


  • IPA(key): /ˈkæ.tə.pʌlt/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: cat‧a‧pult


catapult (plural catapults)

  1. A device or weapon for throwing or launching large objects.
  2. A mechanical aid on aircraft carriers designed to help airplanes take off from the flight deck.
  3. (UK) A slingshot.
  4. An instance of firing a missile from a catapult.
  5. (figuratively) An instance of firing something, as if from a catapult.
    • 2011 March 13, Chris Bevan, “Stoke 2 - 1 West Ham”, in BBC[1]:
      The visitors were given notice of what was to come when Huth headed wide from a Rory Delap long throw but failed to heed the warning, allowing the German defender to rise unmarked to meet another Delap catapult and plant his header into the net after 12 minutes.


Related terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


catapult (third-person singular simple present catapults, present participle catapulting, simple past and past participle catapulted)

  1. (transitive) To fire a missile from a catapult.
  2. (transitive) To fire or launch something, as if from a catapult.
  3. (transitive) To increase the status of something rapidly.
    The candidate selection for running mate has catapulted her to the national scene.
    • 2011 November 12, “International friendly: England 1-0 Spain”, in BBC Sport[2]:
      England will not be catapulted among the favourites for Euro 2012 as a result of this win, but no victory against Spain is earned easily and it is right they take great heart from their efforts as they now prepare to play Sweden at Wembley on Tuesday.
  4. (intransitive) To be fired from a catapult or as if from a catapult.
  5. (intransitive) To have one's status increased rapidly.
    She catapulted to the national scene following her selection by the candidate.


See also[edit]