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90s Slang You Should Know


[glad-ee-ey-ter] /ˈglæd iˌeɪ tər/
(in ancient Rome) a person, often a slave or captive, who was armed with a sword or other weapon and compelled to fight to the death in a public arena against another person or a wild animal, for the entertainment of the spectators.
a person who engages in a fight or controversy.
a prizefighter.
Origin of gladiator
1535-45; < Latin gladiātor, equivalent to gladi(us) sword + -ātor -ator Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for gladiator
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In each of the remaining pairs one gladiator is on the point of yielding to his adversary.

    Renaissance in Italy Vol. 3 John Addington Symonds
  • "There goes the gladiator," said Reanda to his companion, suddenly.

  • I abandoned the Romish priest theory after a second glance, and told myself he was more like a Roman gladiator.

    Uncle Max Rosa Nouchette Carey
  • I am Macer, the son of that Macer who was neighbor of the gladiator Pollex,—'

    Aurelian William Ware
  • With that she contemptuously turned her back on the gladiator, and hastened to examine the condition of her husband.

    The Last Days of Pompeii Edward George Bulwer-Lytton
British Dictionary definitions for gladiator


(in ancient Rome and Etruria) a man trained to fight in arenas to provide entertainment
a person who supports and fights publicly for a cause
Word Origin
C16: from Latin: swordsman, from gladius sword
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for gladiator

mid-15c., "Roman swordsman," from Latin gladiator, literally "swordsman," from gladius "sword," probably from Gaulish (cf. Welsh cleddyf, Cornish clethe, Breton kleze "sword;" see claymore). Old Irish claideb is from Welsh.

The close connection with Celtic words for 'sword', together with the imperfect match of initial consonants, and the semantic field of weaponry, suggests that Latin borrowed a form *gladio- or *kladio- (a hypothetical variant of attested British Celtic *kladimo- 'sword') from [Proto-Celtic] or from a third language. [de Vaan]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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