Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a fighter, duelist.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A bravo; a bully; a duelist.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A swordsman: especially, a person devoted to fencing and presumed to be expert with the sword; hence, less properly, a bravo.

Etymologies

From French spadassin, itself from Italian spadaccino ("swordsman"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • It is, however, the only circumstance of duelling, which savours of common sense, as it puts all mankind upon a level, the old with the young, the weak with the strong, the unwieldy with the nimble, and the man who knows not how to hold a sword with the spadassin, who has practised fencing from the cradle.

    Travels through France and Italy

  • 'If anybody is the dragon to the treasure he covets he is a spadassin who won't hesitate at provocations.

    Lord Ormont and His Aminta — Volume 3

  • By this means she insured the personal chastisement of all other youths who dared to lift their eyes to her, while she by no means bound herself to her spadassin of St. Valeri.

    Hereward, the Last of the English

  • Therefore it was, I presume, and not because he was a rogue, and a hired literary spadassin, that to the best heads in

    Historical Lectures and Essays

  • "Why on earth did you fasten a quarrel on me?" asked the spadassin; "and why, having done so, did you spare my life; for your sword was at my heart when you shifted its point, and pierced my shoulder?"

    The Parisians — Volume 06

  • On leaving Hennequin, Victor sought the _spadassin_ at the club of which they were both members, and contrived, without reference to Hennequin, to pick a quarrel with him.

    The Parisians — Volume 06

  • Prussia, desiring, not unreasonably, to take that place in the world which France now holds, will never challenge France; if she did, she would be too much in the wrong to find a second: Prussia knowing that she has to do with the vainest, the most conceited, the rashest antagonist that ever flourished a rapier in the face of a spadassin -- Prussia will make France challenge her.

    The Parisians — Complete

  • On leaving Hennequin, Victor sought the spadassin at the club of which they were both members, and contrived, without reference to Hennequin, to pick a quarrel with him.

    The Parisians — Complete

  • The man was a notorious spadassin, -- a duellist little less renowned for skill in all weapons than De Mauleon himself.

    The Parisians — Complete

  • A notorious adventurer, gambler, and spadassin, calling himself the

    The Virginians

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Comments

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  • Websters also mentions bully. I like that, because to my ear, this word sounds like an insult, or term of ridicule, especially if the second syllable is emphasized.

    Oh, that lilylivered spaDASsin.

    July 20, 2007

  • A bandit, assassin, duelist. From the Italian spadaccino, "swordsman."

    July 20, 2007