Catapult vs. Trebuchet

By Jaxson

Main Difference

The main difference between Catapult and Trebuchet is that the Catapult is a ballistic device and Trebuchet is a type of siege engine which uses a swinging arm to throw a missile at the enemy.

  • Catapult

    A catapult is a ballistic device used to launch a projectile a great distance without the aid of explosive devices—particularly various types of ancient and medieval siege engines. In use since ancient times, the catapult has proven to be one of the most effective mechanisms during warfare. In modern times the term can apply to devices ranging from a simple hand-held implement (also called a “slingshot”) to a mechanism for launching aircraft from a ship.

  • Trebuchet

    A trebuchet (French trébuchet) is a type of catapult that uses a swinging arm to throw a projectile. It was a common powerful siege engine until the advent of gunpowder.

    There are two main types of trebuchets. The first is the traction trebuchet, or mangonel, which uses manpower to swing the arm. It first appeared in China in the 4th century BC. Carried westward by the Avars, the technology was adopted by the Byzantines in the late 6th century AD and by their neighbors in the following centuries.

    The later, and often larger, counterweight trebuchet, also known as the counterpoise trebuchet, uses a counterweight to swing the arm. It appeared in both Christian and Muslim lands around the Mediterranean in the 12th century, and made its way back to China via Mongol conquests in the 13th century.

  • Catapult (noun)

    A device or weapon for throwing or launching large objects, such as a mechanical aid on aircraft carriers designed to help airplanes take off from the flight deck.

  • Catapult (noun)


  • Catapult (noun)

    An instance of firing a missile from a catapult.

  • Catapult (noun)

    An instance of firing something, as if from a catapult.

  • Catapult (verb)

    To fire a missile from a catapult.

  • Catapult (verb)

    To fire or launch something, as if from a catapult.

  • Catapult (verb)

    To increase the status of something rapidly.

    “The candidate selection for running mate has catapulted her to the national scene.”

  • Catapult (verb)

    To be fired from a catapult or as if from a catapult.

  • Catapult (verb)

    To have one’s status increased rapidly.

    “She catapulted to the national scene following her selection by the candidate.”

  • Trebuchet (noun)

    A medieval siege engine consisting of a large pivoting arm heavily weighted on one end.

    “Medieval trebuchets are said to have been capable of launching 90kg projectiles over distances of more than 300 meters, making them more powerful than most pre-modern types of catapult.”

  • Trebuchet (noun)

    A torture device for dunking suspected witches by means of a chair attached to the end of a long pole.


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