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From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Arbalest \Ar"ba*lest\, Arbalist \Ar"ba*list\, n. [OF. arbaleste, LL. arbalista, for L. arcuballista; arcus bow + ballista a military engine. See Ballista.] (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. [Written also arbalet and arblast.] --Fosbroke. [1913 Webster] Arbalester