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