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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.


  • enPR: jăv'lǐn, IPA(key): /ˈdʒæv(ə)lɪn/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ævlɪn


javelin (plural javelins)

  1. A light spear thrown with the hand and used as a weapon.
    • 1713, Joseph Addison, Cato, published 1712, [Act 1, scene 1]:
      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.

See also[edit]