[ wel-ter-weyt ]
/ ˈwɛl tərˌweɪt /
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a boxer or other contestant intermediate in weight between a lightweight and a middleweight, especially a professional boxer weighing up to 147 pounds (67 kilograms).
(in a steeplechase or hurdle race) a weight of 28 pounds (13 kilograms) that is assigned to a horse in addition to the poundage assigned based on the age of the horse.
a rider of steeplechase or hurdle-race horses who, though acting as a jockey, is of comparatively average weight and not small or lightweight as a professional jockey; heavyweight rider.
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Origin of welterweight

First recorded in 1815–25; welter2 + weight
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does welterweight mean?

The word welterweight is most commonly used in boxing to refer to the weight class between lightweight and middleweight. Weight classes are divisions in which all boxers must be under a certain weight limit.

The word is also commonly used to refer to a boxer in this weight class, as in The next bout is between two welterweights. Such boxers are sometimes called welters for short.

The word welterweight is used in these same ways in other sports that have weight classes, such as mixed martial arts and wrestling.

The specific maximum weight for the welterweight division varies based on the sport, the organization, and whether it applies to men or women.

In amateur and Olympic boxing, the weight limit for the welterweight class is 69 kilograms (152 pounds) for both men and women.

In professional boxing, the limit is about 67 kilograms (147 pounds). There is also a super welterweight division with a limit of about 70 kilograms (154 pounds).

Weight classes are enforced by weighing competitors before a match at what’s called a weigh-in.

The word welterweight is also used in horse racing to refer to a weight added to a horse in steeplechase or a hurdle race—or to a rider who is not classified as lightweight.

Example: I’m dropping down to welterweight so I need to cut some weight before the next weigh-in.

Where does welterweight come from?

The first records of the word welterweight come from the early 1800s. It was first used in the context of horseback riding in reference to the weight of the rider. The origin of the word welter is uncertain. It may come from the verb welt in the sense that means “to beat soundly.” The word weight is used in the same way in the names of several other weight classes, including flyweight, bantamweight, featherweight, lightweight, middleweight, cruiserweight, and heavyweight.

The formalization of weight classes in boxing developed in the mid-1800s. After that, many of the primary weight classes became standard throughout the U.K., the U.S., and internationally.

Did you know … ?

What are some synonyms for welterweight?

What are some words that share a root or word element with welterweight

What are some words that often get used in discussing welterweight?

How is welterweight used in real life?

The word welterweight can be used to refer to a weight class or a competitor in that weight class. It’s most commonly associated with boxing, but it’s also used in other sports that use weight classes, as well as in certain horse racing events.

Try using welterweight!

True or False?

Welterweight is the heaviest weight class in boxing.

How to use welterweight in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for welterweight

/ (ˈwɛltəˌweɪt) /

  1. a professional boxer weighing 140–147 pounds (63.5–66.5 kg)
  2. an amateur boxer weighing 63.5–67 kg (140–148 pounds)
  3. (as modifier)a great welterweight era
a wrestler in a similar weight category (usually 154–172 pounds (70–78 kg))
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