[ spahr-ing ]
See synonyms for sparring on
  1. the act or process of boxing with light blows, or of training by practicing the motions of attack and defense: I’m heading to the boxing gym to get in some sparring.Wu shu as a sport takes mainly two forms: the dancelike practice of the routine exercise, and the sparring in duels.

  2. the act or process of disputing or bandying words: After some final sparring between opposing counsel, the prosecution made its closing argument.

  1. the act of striking or attacking with the feet or spurs, as fighting roosters do: To prevent injury during sparring, they even put foam rubber covers on the spurs of their gamecocks.

  1. boxing with light blows, or practicing boxing motions of attack and defense: The place was packed with spectators cheering for the sparring boxers in the ring.

  2. disputing or bandying words: The crew is a mix of personalities, from the friendly pilot to the constantly sparring pair of engineers who keep the ship running.

  1. striking or attacking with the feet or spurs, as gamecocks do: This vintage table decoration features a pair of sparring roosters made of polished metal.

Origin of sparring

First recorded in 1625–35; spar2 + -ing1 for the noun senses; spar2 + -ing2 for the adjective senses

Words Nearby sparring Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use sparring in a sentence

  • After which conversational sparring they fell back upon the little commonplaces of the moment.

    Cabin Fever | B. M. Bower
  • It was a terrific struggle; not the skillful sparring of trained fighters, but the rough and tumble battling of primitive giants.

    The Shepherd of the Hills | Harold Bell Wright
  • He plied his companions with questions, sparring for more time.

    Frank Merriwell's Pursuit | Burt L. Standish
  • "'Twas this way," said Mr. Hennessy, sparring at Mr. Dooley.

    Mr. Dooley in Peace and in War | Finley Peter Dunne
  • In fact it was more of a wrestling than a sparring match,—a test of strength, prowess, agility.

    Unveiling a Parallel | Alice Ilgenfritz Jones and Ella Marchant