jave·lin (jăvlĭn, jăvə-)
1. A light spear thrown with the hand and used as a weapon.
a. A metal or metal-tipped spear thrown for distance in track and field competitions. The men's javelin is about 2.6 meters (8 1/2 feet) in length; the women's is about 2.2 meters (7 1/4 feet) in length.
b. The athletic field event in which a javelin is thrown.
[Middle English, from Old French javeline, diminutive of javelot, of Celtic origin.]
(click for a larger image)javelin
Marjaana Vare of Finland at the 2008 Paralympic Games
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 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.