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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 pugilistic
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Bore (pugilistic), to press a man to the ropes of the ring by superior weight.

    The Slang Dictionary John Camden Hotten
  • And there followed him "big John Brown," of mathematical and pugilistic renown.

    An Australian Lassie Lilian Turner
  • A humorous poem, abounding in Slang and pugilistic term, with a burlesque essay on the classic origin of Slang.

    The Slang Dictionary John Camden Hotten
  • Ash-Can Sam was wounded—not so much in body as in pugilistic pride.

    A Night Out Edward Peple
  • And presently two more appeared, similarly clad, Mark and his old friend, the learned and pugilistic Parson.

    On Guard Upton Sinclair
  • Dodo; he's too—not pugilistic—the other one with a pug-naceous.

Word Origin and History for pugilistic



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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