sparring partner

[ spahr-ing pahrt-ner ]
See synonyms for sparring partner on
  1. a boxer who spars with and otherwise serves to train a boxer who is preparing for a bout.

  2. a person who serves to sharpen and expand one’s thinking through frequent friendly debate: This provocative political writer was the frequent sparring partner of a popular talk show host on TV.

Origin of sparring partner

First recorded in 1905–10
  • Also called spar·ring mate [spahr-ing meyt] /ˈspɑr ɪŋ ˌmeɪt/ .

Words Nearby sparring partner Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use sparring partner in a sentence

  • He had had no sparring partner, and his food had not been of the best nor always sufficient.

  • Bit thick, I mean to say, a sparring-partner going at him like that.

    The Adventures of Sally | P. G. Wodehouse
  • Then he was a sparring partner, I think they call it, for a prizefighter.

    The Efficiency Expert | Edgar Rice Burroughs
  • He's been sparring partner of one of the champions and he thinks a good deal of himself.

    Paradise Garden | George Gibbs
  • It was the fact that Bugs Butler was lowering himself to extend his powers against a sparring-partner that shocked Mr. Burrowes.

    The Adventures of Sally | P. G. Wodehouse

British Dictionary definitions for sparring partner

sparring partner

/ (ˈspɑːrɪŋ) /

  1. a person who practises with a boxer during training

  2. a person with whom one has friendly arguments

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with sparring partner

sparring partner

An individual with whom one enjoys arguing, as in Jim's my best sparring partner. This expression alludes to boxing, where since about 1900 it has denoted the person one practices or trains with. [Mid-1900s] Also see spar with.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.