[ ban-tuhm-weyt ]


  1. a boxer or other contestant intermediate in weight between a flyweight and a featherweight, especially a professional boxer weighing up to 118 pounds.


/ ˈbæntəmˌweɪt /


    1. a professional boxer weighing 112–118 pounds (51–53.5 kg)
    2. an amateur boxer weighing 51–54 kg (112–119 pounds)
    3. ( as modifier )

      the bantamweight champion

  1. a wrestler in a similar weight category (usually 115–126 pounds (52–57 kg))

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Word History and Origins

Origin of bantamweight1

First recorded in 1880–85; bantam + weight

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Example Sentences

Pop couldn't be much more than a bantamweight, even with all his knives.


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More About Bantamweight

What does bantamweight mean?

The word bantamweight is most commonly used in boxing to refer to the weight class between flyweight and featherweight. Weight classes are divisions in which all boxers must be under a certain weight limit. Bantamweight is one of the lightest weight classes.

The word is also commonly used to refer to a boxer in this weight class, as in The next bout is between two bantamweights. Such boxers are sometimes called bantams for short.

The word bantamweight is sometimes used in these same ways in other sports that have weight classes, such as mixed martial arts and wrestling.

The specific maximum weight for the bantamweight division varies based on the sport, the organization, and whether it applies to men or women.

In professional and amateur boxing, the weight limit for the bantamweight division is about 53.5 kilograms (118 pounds) for both men and women. There is also a super bantamweight division in professional boxing with a limit of about 55.3 kilograms (122 pounds).

In Olympic boxing, the bantamweight division is no longer used—the next class after flyweight is featherweight.

Weight classes are enforced by weighing competitors before a match at what’s called a weigh-in.

Example: I’m dropping down to bantamweight so I need to cut some weight before the next weigh-in.

Where does bantamweight come from?

The first records of the word bantamweight come from the 1880s. As an adjective, the word bantam means “diminutive” or “tiny.” As a noun, it can mean “a small and feisty or quarrelsome person.” This sense is based on its original use to refer to a kind of very small chicken—which was apparently named after the village Bantam in Java, where these kinds of chickens were exported to Europe.

The word weight is used in the same way in the names of several other weight classes, including flyweight, featherweight, lightweight, welterweight, middleweight, cruiserweight, and heavyweight.

The formalization of weight classes in boxing developed in the mid-1800s. After that, many of the primary weight classes became standard throughout the U.K., the U.S., and internationally.

Did you know … ?

What are some synonyms for bantamweight?

What are some words that share a root or word element with bantamweight?

What are some words that often get used in discussing bantamweight?

How is bantamweight used in real life?

The word bantamweight can be used to refer to a weight class or a competitor in that weight class. It’s most commonly associated with boxing, but it’s also used in other sports that use weight classes.

Try using bantamweight!

True or False?

Bantamweight is the lightest weight class in boxing.




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