• synonyms


[pyoo-juh-liz-uh m]
See more synonyms for pugilism on Thesaurus.com
  1. the art or practice of fighting with the fists; boxing.
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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. 2018

Related Words for pugilism

slugfest, battle, mill, pugilism, sparring, prelim, bout, duel, fight, fisticuffs, match, haymaker

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


  1. the art, practice, or profession of fighting with the fists; boxing
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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper