cat·a·pult (kătə-pŭlt′, -plt′)
1. Any of various military machines used for hurling missiles, such as large stones or spears, in ancient and medieval times.
2. A mechanism for launching aircraft at a speed sufficient for flight, as from the deck of a carrier.
3. A slingshot.
v. cat·a·pult·ed, cat·a·pult·ing, cat·a·pults
1. To hurl or launch from a catapult.
2. To hurl or launch by means other than a catapult: The blast catapulted bricks across the street.
3. To bring suddenly into prominence: The film catapulted her into fame.
1. To be catapulted or hurled: The rider catapulted over the handlebars.
2. To jump or spring: She catapulted over the gate.
[French catapulte, from Old French, from Latin catapulta, from Greek katapaltēs : kata-, cata- + pallein, to brandish, poise a weapon before hurling; see pāl- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
(click for a larger image)catapult
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.