halberd


halberd
/hal"beuhrd, hawl"-, hol"-/; formerly /haw"beuhrd/, n.
a shafted weapon with an axlike cutting blade, beak, and apical spike, used esp. in the 15th and 16th centuries.
Also, halbert /hal"beuhrt, hawl"-, hol"-/; formerly /haw"beuhrt/.
[1485-95; earlier haubert < MF hallebarde < MLG helmbarde, equiv. to helm handle (c. HELM1) + barde broadax (c. MHG barte)]

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Weapon consisting of an ax blade and a sharp spike mounted on the end of a long staff.

Usually about 5–6 ft (1.5–2 m) long, it was an important weapon in middle Europe in the 15th and early 16th centuries. It enabled a foot soldier to contend with an armoured man on horseback; the spiked head kept the rider at a distance, and the ax blade could strike a heavy cleaving blow. Firearms and the declining use of armour made the halberd obsolete.

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weapon
also spelled  halbert or halbard 

      weapon consisting of an ax blade balanced by a pick with an elongated pike head at the end of the staff. It was usually about 1.5 to 1.8 metres (5 to 6 feet) long. The halberd was an important weapon in middle Europe from the 14th through the 16th century. It enabled a foot soldier to contend with an armoured man on horseback; the pike head was used to keep the horseman at a distance, and the ax blade could strike a heavy cleaving blow to finish the opponent. The blades of halberds took on a variety of shapes, often being engraved or inlaid and exquisitely finished as works of art. Concurrently with the disuse of armour and the development of firearms, the pike, or thrusting element, gradually displaced the cleaving element in such weapons. In some of the burghs of Scotland, the halberd is retained as the symbol of authority borne before the magistrates on public occasions.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Halberd — Hal berd (h[o^]l b[ e]rd; 277), n. [F. hallebarde; of German origin; cf. MHG. helmbarte, G. hellebarte; prob. orig., an ax to split a helmet, fr. G. barte a broad ax (orig. from the same source as E. beard; cf. Icel. bar[eth]a, a kind of ax,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • halberd — late 15c., from M.Fr. hallebarde (earlier alabarde, 15c.), from M.H.G. halmbarte broad axe with handle, from halm handle (see HELM (Cf. helm)) + barte hatchet, possibly from P.Gmc. *bardoz beard, also hatchet, broadax. Alternative etymology… …   Etymology dictionary

  • halberd — (also halbert) ► NOUN historical ▪ a combined spear and battleaxe. ORIGIN High German helmbarde, from helm handle + barde hatchet …   English terms dictionary

  • halberd — [hal′bərthal′bərd] n. [LME haubert < OFr hallebarde & MDu hellebaerde, both < MHG helmbarte < helm, handle, staff (see HELM2) + barte, an ax, var. of bart, BEARD] a combination spear and battle ax used in the 15th and 16th cent.: also… …   English World dictionary

  • Halberd — A halberd (also called halbert or Swiss voulge) is a two handed pole weapon that came to prominent use during the 14th and 15th centuries. Possibly the word halberd comes from the German words Halm (staff), and Barte (axe). The halberd consists… …   Wikipedia

  • halberd — UK [ˈhælbɜː(r)d] / US [ˈhælbɜrd] noun [countable] Word forms halberd : singular halberd plural halberds a weapon used in the past that was a spear with the head of an axe added to it …   English dictionary

  • halberd — noun A hand weapon consisting of a long pole fitted with a metal head; the head consists of a blade similar to an axe and usually a spike or hook.<! It seems that this article would benefit of attention of somebody who really knows what hes… …   Wiktionary

  • Halberd — A polearm weapon with an axe blade ( for slicing ) one one side balanced by a hook (for hooking and pulling the enemy) on the other side. It also had a point (for thrusting) at the very top. A weapon that emerged along with the glaive and… …   Medieval glossary

  • halberd — also halbert noun Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French hallebarde, from Middle High German helmbarte, from helm handle + barte ax Date: 15th century a weapon especially of the 15th and 16th centuries consisting typically of a battle ax… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Halberd — A long handled weapon with an axe and spike on the end. Cf. Gisarme; Poleaxe …   Dictionary of Medieval Terms and Phrases


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