• WordNet 3.6
    • n arbalist an engine that provided medieval artillery used during sieges; a heavy war engine for hurling large stones and other missiles
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Arbalist (Antiq) A crossbow, consisting of a steel bow set in a shaft of wood, furnished with a string and a trigger, and a mechanical device for bending the bow. It served to throw arrows, darts, bullets, etc.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n arbalist A crossbow used in Europe in the chase and in war throughout the middle ages. The bow was made of steel, horn, or other material, and was of such great strength and stiffness that some mechanical appliance was used to bend it and adjust the string to the notch. The lighter arbalists, used in the chase, and generally by horsemen, required a double hook, which the arbalister carried at his girdle. Heavier ones required a kind of lever, or a windlass, or a revolving winch with a ratchet and long handle, to draw them; these appliances were separate from the arbalist, and were carried slung from the shoulder or at the belt. The short and heavy arrow of the arbalist was called a quarrel, from its square head, or more commonly a bolt, as distinguished from the shaft discharged by the longbow. Sometimes stones (see stone-bow) and leaden balls were used. The missile of the arbalist was discharged with such force as to penetrate ordinary armor, and the weapon was considered so deadly as to be prohibited by a council of the church except in warfare against infidels. It could, however, be discharged only twice a minute. It was used especially in the attack and defense of fortified places. For similar weapons of other periods than the European middle ages, see crossbow. Also arcubalist, and formerly arblast.
    • n arbalist In heraldry, a crossbow used as a bearing.
    • ***


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OF. arbaleste, LL. arbalista, for L. arcuballista,; arcus, bow + ballista, a military engine. See Ballista


In literature:

Look at yon arbalist; sure Brutus himself used such an one!
"Men of Iron" by Howard Pyle
In the meantime here is Wat with his arbalist and a bolt in his girdle.
"Sir Nigel" by Arthur Conan Doyle
Betwixt the third couple of towers were the butts for arquebus, crossbow, and arbalist.
"The Best of the World's Classics, Restricted to Prose, Vol. VII (of X)--Continental Europe I" by Various
This parapet was not too high for arbalisters to shoot over its slope.
"Annals of a Fortress" by E. Viollet-le-Duc