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[pyoo-juh-liz-uh m] /ˈpyu dʒəˌlɪz əm/
the art or practice of fighting with the fists; boxing.
Origin of pugilism
1785-95; < Latin pugil boxer (akin to pugnus fist, pugnāre to fight; compare Greek pýx with the fist, pygmḗ boxing) + -ism Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for pugilism
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "Let there be no vulgar display of pugilism here," he said, sharply.

    The Sins of the Children Cosmo Hamilton
  • IT is not with pleasure that we approach this question, sacred to the pugilism of debate.

    A Trip to Cuba Julia Ward Howe
  • He would have dearly liked to watch the display of pugilism.

    The Revellers Louis Tracy
  • Unfortunately, this undisputed talent only existed in pugilism.

    Against The Grain Joris-Karl Huysmans
  • But enough of pugilism and of what, at best, is a doubtful tradition.

  • Being challenged to a trial of pugilism by the King's son, he slew him.

  • And she shrugged her shoulders to indicate the futility of young John's pugilism.

    Lady Baltimore Owen Wister
  • Heretofore, in America, pugilism has been made subservient to the common schools.

    Remarks Bill Nye
British Dictionary definitions for pugilism


the art, practice, or profession of fighting with the fists; boxing
Derived Forms
pugilist, noun
pugilistic, adjective
pugilistically, adverb
Word Origin
C18: from Latin pugil a boxer; related to pugnus fist, pugna a fight
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 pugilism

1789, from Latin pugil "boxer, fist-fighter," related to pugnus "fist" (see pugnacious) + -ism. Pugilation "fighting with fists," now obsolete, is recorded from 1650s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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