Definition of catapult in English:

catapult

noun

  • 1British A forked stick with an elastic band fastened to the two prongs, used by children for shooting small stones.

    • ‘Last year a man lost the sight in his left eye after he answered a knock at his door and was hit by a stone fired from a catapult.’
    • ‘It is believed the children may have used a catapult to fire the stone.’
    • ‘The demonstrations descended into a confrontation between the police firing rubber bullets, tear gas and, reportedly, live rounds, and the youths throwing stones and using catapults.’
    • ‘So you know nothing of two youths messing about with catapults then?’
    • ‘Officers believe that someone is driving round in a car with a weapon capable of discharging the ball bearings, possibly a catapult, and firing it randomly at properties.’
    • ‘‘I have seen dead pigeons in the park before; they had been shot with a catapult,’ he said.’
    • ‘Then, probably using a catapult, they smashed 13 windows, leaving the school facing a hefty repair bill.’
    • ‘Having a weapon in school meant being caught with a catapult.’
    • ‘A home-made catapult firing a steel ball bearing or lead ball can have twice the kinetic energy of the average airgun.’
    • ‘On one occasion, bricklayers building the new facility came under fire from a youngster armed with a catapult.’
    • ‘We made dens in the woods and had battles with other gangs using guns that fired peas, homemade bows and arrows, and catapults or we just threw stones at them.’
    • ‘When pheasants were worth £2.00 - £3.00 they were targeted by poachers, armed with air rifles and catapults, during the winter months.’
    • ‘He said: ‘We have had bricks, snooker balls, missiles shot by catapults and all sorts.’’
    • ‘Using an air rifle or a high-powered catapult, the vandals smashed ten of the ground's floodlights causing over €1,000 worth of damage.’
    • ‘Loyalists use tennis racquets to send over golf balls and have launched ball-bearings from catapults.’
    • ‘His mind was running too efficiently, like a catapult launching a stone so fast that its pegs splintered.’
    • ‘As it approached mid day we decided to pack up and I fired out the floating pellets on to the water with my catapult and then started to pack away my gear.’
    • ‘The attack was the culmination of a week of harassment of the newspaper, starting with a demonstration by war veterans on Tuesday in which journalists were assaulted and heavy iron bolts were fired from catapults through office windows.’
    1. 1.1historical A military machine worked by a lever and ropes for hurling large stones or other missiles.
      • ‘Indeed Archimedes was famous for his application of the law of the lever to the construction of catapults for military purposes.’
      • ‘Longer-ranged weapons (bows and arrows, catapults, artillery, and, later, guided missiles) allowed armies to fire deadlier rounds from greater distances.’
      • ‘They were besieged by opposing armies using towers, battering rams, catapults, and flame weapons.’
      • ‘The siege weapons also became so effective that the castles were no longer effective enough to stop the onslaught brought on by the catapults and ballistae.’
      • ‘For a high school science project, my son and his pals built a 16-foot tall medieval siege catapult.’
    2. 1.2A mechanical device for launching a glider or other aircraft, especially from the deck of a ship.
      • ‘Her 1.8-hectare flight deck is 333m long, 78m wide and has four catapults and four aircraft lifts.’
      • ‘There were no catapults for launching aircraft or hangar deck for storage and workshops.’
      • ‘With the Greyhound shuddering and jolting, the pilot inches the aircraft across the deck towards the waiting catapult.’
      • ‘Some ships had no catapults and the OS2Us were lowered to the water by cranes.’
      • ‘This class of carrier does not utilize a steam catapult for launching fighters but is equipped instead with a ski jump at the bow to allow short takeoffs.’
      • ‘‘No one saw it, and they used a catapult to launch’ the airplane.’
      • ‘Certainly not establishing any huge steps forward for the aeronautical field, the specification called for a robust aircraft that could operate from the catapults being carried by the battleships and cruisers of the day.’
      • ‘Keller looked over at the steam rising from the catapult on the forward deck, watched the sailors scurrying around to ready it to fire the next jet skyward.’
      • ‘Shutting down and egressing from the aircraft while on the catapult would have been the most conservative course of action.’
      • ‘The fuselage is strengthened for repeated carrier catapult launches and arrester landings.’
      • ‘As I was sitting on the catapult waiting to launch, I noticed the weather changing.’
      • ‘The vehicle was launched from a catapult and snagged as it glided off the launch rails.’
      • ‘A red warning light glowing on the panel indicated to him that the catapult's compressed air cylinders were under pressure and the safety lock on the supporting trolley had been released.’
      • ‘It was a sweltering 140 degrees on the flight deck as we taxied our Prowler to the catapult for a late July launch into the skies of the Arabian Gulf.’
      • ‘The seaplane, which had folding wings, was launched by catapult off a runway on the deck.’
      • ‘Steam catapults are labour intensive, while an electromagnetic aircraft-launch system appears to promise a reduction in the number of personnel involved.’
      • ‘The minimum flight velocity was so high that the aircraft could not be hand-launched but instead required a catapult.’
      • ‘She carried two Arado aircraft that could be launched by catapult.’
      • ‘We settled in, completed our checks, and taxied to the catapult - tension, run-up, wipeout and lights on.’
      • ‘I was standing a squadron watch in the carrier's air operations, with a critical night-missing flight in tension on the catapult.’

verb

with object and adverbial of direction
  • 1Hurl or launch (something) with or as if with a catapult.

    ‘the explosion catapulted the car 30 yards along the road’
    ‘their music catapulted them to the top of the charts’
    • ‘The song, the first tune to be played on Radio 1 when it was launched in 1967, catapulted the group to stardom.’
    • ‘Two hours of original script and music catapult the audience through the very best and freshest Northern Irish exportable wit.’
    • ‘One car even catapulted a telegraph pole into her house in the latest collision at the weekend.’
    • ‘Then he sped off as they were catapulted out of their car and it crashed into two trees, York Crown Court heard.’
    • ‘Two of the victims were killed instantly when the force of the collision catapulted them through the rear window of the car.’
    • ‘The all-wheel-drive transmission gives even more impressive traction, catapulting the car to 100 km/h from a standing start in just 2.2 seconds, about a second faster than a current Formula One car.’
    • ‘The tribunal's decision catapults many worthy arts bodies into a financial black hole.’
    • ‘In other words, the frequency of accidents at those intersections may not be exceptionally high, but sheer size catapults them to the top of the list.’
    • ‘The series of events that undoubtedly inspired their hugely successful breakthrough album - catapulting them up charts and onto international magazine covers - could not have been predicted.’
    • ‘However, rather than catapulting the festival to setback, it was a classic case of the show must go on and so it did in spectacular style, culminating in the best festival yet.’
    • ‘Her latest film will almost certainly please her fan base while catapulting her back to the top of the box office charts.’
    • ‘It's concepts like this that are catapulting entertainment to places it's never been to before.’
    • ‘The single, written as a crowd-pleaser, was the band's first hit and it catapulted them into mags, on to TV and got them two gigs with the Beatles.’
    • ‘It is a fictional account of the real events which catapulted the women to stardom but charts the price they had to pay when they were subjected to the glare of the world's media.’
    • ‘Their work catapulted them to the world centrestage, where they were surrounded by adulation and enmity at the same time.’
    • ‘The sharp vocals and beat alone could have catapulted this song into some level of stardom.’
    • ‘That victory also catapulted India's cricketers from mere stars to major celebrities.’
    • ‘On July 16, 1992, the dome was blown to pieces, catapulting 12-foot boulders throughout the amphitheater and sending a column of ash 3.5 miles into the air.’
    • ‘The growing spending power of the UK's Premiership stars has catapulted 21 new players onto the list.’
    • ‘These numbers catapulted them to the very top of the hit parade and made them household names.’
    propel, launch, hurl, hurtle, fling, send flying, send, let fly, let loose, fire, blast, shoot
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1no object, with adverbial of direction Move suddenly or at great speed as though hurled by a catapult.
      ‘the horse catapulted away from the fence’
      • ‘Inverness finished sixth, fourth and sixth in the First Division, before suddenly catapulting into title contention with a very, very good run this year.’
      • ‘Had I suddenly found myself catapulted forward in time to Christmas?’
      • ‘Ian was amazed at the speed at which he had catapulted back to reality.’
      • ‘But with American symphony orchestras generally in crisis, the San Francisco Symphony has bucked the trend in recent years while catapulting into the ranks of the world's great ensembles.’
      • ‘The Internet has set off a new phenomenon where people or events are catapulting to fame without the organisers or participants actually coming to know about it.’
      • ‘A police spokesman said the Clio is believed to have careered out of control and mounted the roadside kerb before catapulting across the road towards oncoming traffic and ploughing into the van.’
      • ‘Nothing new, but in catapulting over the handlebars, he tore his liver, and in 32 years of daredevil stunts, it was the one that brought him closest to death.’
      • ‘Like other developing countries, Bangladesh catapulted into the global economy on the back of its cheap, plentiful labour force.’
      • ‘The man ran well for his size, and just before the guards could reach out to him, catapulted around a lamppost and went off on a tangent.’
      • ‘My breath was stuck in my stomach, my limbs benumbed, my senses catapulted into a no-go area where terror meets exhilaration.’
      • ‘The young artist found himself catapulted onto the small screen interviewing painters, dancers and rock stars.’
      • ‘If that is done as a joint venture, they could well find themselves catapulted into the limelight on more than one front.’
      • ‘His feet caught me square in the shins., causing me to catapult up into the air.’
      • ‘That blast created huge fireballs and sent vehicles and bodies catapulting through the air.’
      • ‘Born in 1882, Hopper spent most of his career as a commercial artist before catapulting to fame at the age of 42.’
      • ‘Before he knew what was happening, he went catapulting through the salty air.’
      • ‘Thus, he found himself catapulted, quite unexpectedly, into the spotlight and becoming a frequently seen face on TV.’
      • ‘As leader of the successful boycott, King found himself catapulted to national prominence.’
      • ‘He'll do it, and in the process, catapult onto everyone's lists next year.’
      • ‘It was rammed so hard that the car was catapulted into a nearby brick wall, causing £4,000 of damage.’
      speed, hurry, rush, catapult
      View synonyms

Origin

Late 16th century from French catapulte or Latin catapulta, from Greek katapeltēs, from kata- ‘down’ + pallein ‘hurl’.

Pronunciation

catapult

/ˈkatəpʌlt/