a person who fights with the fists; a boxer, usually a professional.

Origin of pugilist

1780–90; < Latin pugil (see pugilism) + -ist
Related formspu·gi·lis·tic, adjectivepu·gi·lis·ti·cal·ly, adverbun·pu·gil·is·tic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pugilistic

Contemporary Examples of pugilistic

Historical Examples of pugilistic

  • Ash-Can Sam was wounded—not so much in body as in pugilistic pride.

    A Night Out

    Edward Peple

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

  • And there followed him "big John Brown," of mathematical and pugilistic renown.

  • Bore (Pugilistic), to press a man to the ropes of the ring by superior weight.

    The Slang Dictionary

    John Camden Hotten

  • Cock, a pugilistic term for a man who is knocked out of time.

    The Slang Dictionary

    John Camden Hotten

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