kung fu

[kuhng foo, koo ng]


an ancient Chinese method of self-defense by striking blows at vulnerable areas of an attacker's body using fluid movements of the hands and legs.

Origin of kung fu

From the Chinese word gōngfú literally, skill
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for kung fu

kung fu


any of various Chinese martial arts, some focusing on unarmed combat, others involving the use of weapons

Word Origin for kung fu

from Chinese: skill, accomplishment
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

Word Origin and History for kung fu

1966, from dialectal Chinese kung fu, said to meant literally "merit master," but Barnhart has it as "boxing method."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper