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A polearm is one of man's earliest weapons. It can take many forms, but the key component is a long shaft (pole) -- at least as tall as a man -- that gives the wielder extra reach. Polearms were used primarily in war, but some teachers also recommended them as weapons of self-defense (especially the quarterstaff).
A polearm with a pointed metal tip. Typically used by foot soldiers, but mounted soldiers used a lance for ritualized combat called jousting. An especially long spear (sixteen feet was not uncommon) was called a pike.
A polearm, typically spear-like, designed to be thrown.
Polearms had many attachments including axe heads (poleaxe and halberd) hooks, and blades (partisans).