Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The skill, practice, and sport of fighting with the fists; boxing.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. fighting with fists, boxing

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The practice of boxing, or fighting with the fist.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The art or practice of boxing or fighting with the fists.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. fighting with the fists

Etymologies

From Latin pugil, pugilist.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
1791, from Latin pugil ("fist") +‎ -ism, related to pugnus ("fist"), from Proto-Indo-European roots. Compare contemporary pugilist ("boxer") (1790). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • It may be that for a long time some nations will continue to fight each other, but the example of those nations who prefer arbitration to war, law courts to the battlefield, must sooner or later influence the belligerent powers and make war as unpopular as pugilism is now.

    Randal Cremer - Nobel Lecture

  • I admire the old fashion according to which in English pugilism (which, however, I do not admire) the combatants shook hands before they fought; only I think much time ought not to be spent upon such salutations when there is other work to do. '

    The Life of William Ewart Gladstone, Vol. 1 (of 3) 1809-1859

  • Hillary is a path breaker for future generations of women because she has broken the glass ceiling with her newfound politics of "pugilism".

    Tom Hayden: Not The Time To Celebrate Clinton As Brawler

  • M. ERIC DYSON: I think that, you know, we're engaging in some rhetorical fisticuffs, so to speak, a kind of pugilism of the domestic sphere.

    CNN Transcript Mar 20, 2008

  • The writing is a kind of pugilism -- the strokes being made straight out from the shoulder.

    Venetian Life

  • Although he earned millions, Louis ended up nearly penniless and a walking argument against professional pugilism.

    The Standard Bearer

  • In parting let me inject my own truculence and pugilism in this 1/2 punch: I cannot believe this is the conversation we are still having this far into our project and at this ridiculously low level at that.

    Book Review: On Criticism by Noel Carroll

  • The pugilism continued at Oxford, where he read military history and, while admiring the "tranquil beauty" of the High Street, noted that he felt a "savage satisfaction" in fighting.

    Drawn to Harsh Places

  • Those children who prefer pugilism to pampering will no doubt love the Kung Zhu Battle Arena, which seven-year-old Jayden Chamberlain was warring with this morning.

    Monopoly Revolution predicted to be Christmas toy bestseller

  • After the Cotto contest, Margarito became one of the hottest prospects in professional pugilism.

    With These Two, the Animosity Isn't an Act

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