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gladiator

[glad-ee-ey-ter] /ˈglæd iˌeɪ tər/
noun
1.
(in ancient Rome) a person, often a slave or captive, who was armed with a sword or other weapon and compelled to fight to the death in a public arena against another person or a wild animal, for the entertainment of the spectators.
2.
a person who engages in a fight or controversy.
3.
a prizefighter.
Origin
1535-1545
1535-45; < Latin gladiātor, equivalent to gladi(us) sword + -ātor -ator
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for gladiators
  • Then the emperor's favorite lion is killed, leading to an investigation of the gladiators.
British Dictionary definitions for gladiators

gladiator

/ˈɡlædɪˌeɪtə/
noun
1.
(in ancient Rome and Etruria) a man trained to fight in arenas to provide entertainment
2.
a person who supports and fights publicly for a cause
Word Origin
C16: from Latin: swordsman, from gladius sword
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
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Word Origin and History for gladiators

gladiator

n.

mid-15c., "Roman swordsman," from Latin gladiator, literally "swordsman," from gladius "sword," probably from Gaulish (cf. Welsh cleddyf, Cornish clethe, Breton kleze "sword;" see claymore). Old Irish claideb is from Welsh.

The close connection with Celtic words for 'sword', together with the imperfect match of initial consonants, and the semantic field of weaponry, suggests that Latin borrowed a form *gladio- or *kladio- (a hypothetical variant of attested British Celtic *kladimo- 'sword') from [Proto-Celtic] or from a third language. [de Vaan]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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