[pyoo-juh-liz-uh m]


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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pugilism

Contemporary Examples of pugilism

Historical Examples of pugilism

  • "Let there be no vulgar display of pugilism here," he said, sharply.

  • 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.

British Dictionary definitions for pugilism



the art, practice, or profession of fighting with the fists; boxing
Derived Formspugilist, nounpugilistic, adjectivepugilistically, adverb

Word Origin for pugilism

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

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