From Middle English [Term?], from Old French javelline, diminutive of javelot, diminutive of *javel, from Vulgar Latin *gabalus, from Gaulish gabulum (compare Old Irish gabul (“fork”), Welsh gafl), from Proto-Celtic *gablā (“fork, forked branch”), from Proto-Indo-European *gʰeh₁bʰ-. The Old French term was also borrowed into Middle Low German as gaveline, and into Middle High German as gabilot. Cognate with gavelock, gaffle.
javelin (plural javelins)
- A light spear thrown with the hand and used as a weapon.
- 1611, The Holy Bible, […] (King James Version), London: […] Robert Barker, […], →OCLC, Numbers 25:7–8:
- And when Phinehas the sonne of Eleazar, the sonne of Aaron the Priest saw it, hee rose vp from amongst the Congregation, and tooke a iauelin in his hand. And he went after the man of Israel into the tent, and thrust both of them thorow, the man of Israel, and the woman, thorow her belly: So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel.
- 1898, Homer, “Book XII”, in Samuel Butler, transl., The Iliad of Homer: Rendered into English Prose for the use of those who cannot read the original, London: Longmans, Green, and Co., page 189:
- As a lion or wild boar turns fiercely on the dogs and men that attack him, while these form a solid wall and shower their javelins as they face him—his courage is all undaunted, but his high spirit will be the death of him; […]
- A metal-tipped spear thrown for distance in an athletic field event.
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