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[pyoo-juh-list] /ˈpyu dʒə lɪst/
a person who fights with the fists; a boxer, usually a professional.
Origin of pugilist
1780-90; < Latin pugil (see pugilism) + -ist
Related forms
pugilistic, adjective
pugilistically, adverb
unpugilistic, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for pugilist
Historical Examples
  • The month before he had broken the ribs and gouged out the eyes of a pugilist named Sixmileswater.

    The Man Who Laughs Victor Hugo
  • "I'm all ready," said Richard, throwing himself into the attitude of the pugilist.

    In School and Out Oliver Optic
  • The strong armed women, generally negresses, have the developed muscles of the pugilist and the daring of the pirate.

  • She had put on a blue bath-robe, and looked like a pugilist about to enter the ring.

    The Girl on the Boat Pelham Grenville Wodehouse
  • It was strange to hear him declaiming long speeches from Macbeth or Hamlet, and to think that he was by profession a pugilist.

    The White Feather P. G. Wodehouse
  • He set himself square like a pugilist, which was his notion of resistance.

    Phoebe, Junior Mrs [Margaret] Oliphant
  • Aside from those hands he more resembled a pugilist than a scientist.

  • Perhaps a pugilist would have said that the younger "heeled" the other.

    Footprints in the Forest Edward Sylvester Ellis
  • Certainly no one would have looked for a pugilist in this subdued old gentleman.

    Our Old Home, Vol. 2 Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • The muscularity, purchased by excessive nutriment, of the Bœotian pugilist.

Word Origin and History for pugilist

1789, from Latin pugil "boxer, fist-fighter," related to pugnus "a fist" (see pugnacious) + -ist. Related: Pugilistic (1789); pugilistically. Pugil occasionally turns up in English as "boxer, fist-fighter" (from 1640s), but it has not caught on. Pugil stick (1962) was introduced by U.S. military as a substitute for rifles in bayonet drills.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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