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Middle English, from Old French javelline, diminutive of javelot, diminutive of *javel, from Vulgar Latin *gabalus, from Gaulish gabal- (compare Old Irish gabul ‎(fork), Welsh gafl), from Proto-Celtic *gabalos ‎(fork, forked branch), from Proto-Indo-European *gʰabʰlos ‎(fork, branch of tree). The Old French term was also borrowed into Middle Low German as gaveline, and into Middle High German as gabilot.



javelin ‎(plural javelins)

  1. A light spear thrown with the hand and used as a weapon.
    • Addison
      Flies the javelin swifter to its mark, / Launched by the vigour of a Roman arm?
  2. A metal-tipped spear thrown for distance in an athletic field event.

Derived terms[edit]


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javelin ‎(third-person singular simple present javelins, present participle javelining, simple past and past participle javelined)

  1. (transitive) To pierce with a javelin.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Tennyson to this entry?)

See also[edit]