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[pyoo-juh-liz-uh m] /ˈpyu dʒəˌlɪz əm/
the art or practice of fighting with the fists; boxing.
Origin of pugilism
1785-95; < Latin pugil boxer (akin to pugnus fist, pugnāre to fight; compare Greek pýx with the fist, pygmḗ boxing) + -ism Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for pugilism
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Certain modern sports, such as baseball, are free from the corruption which has attached itself to horse-racing and pugilism.

  • IT is not with pleasure that we approach this question, sacred to the pugilism of debate.

    A Trip to Cuba Julia Ward Howe
  • Heretofore, in America, pugilism has been made subservient to the common schools.

    Remarks Bill Nye
  • Unfortunately, this undisputed talent only existed in pugilism.

    Against The Grain Joris-Karl Huysmans
  • He would have dearly liked to watch the display of pugilism.

    The Revellers Louis Tracy
  • Being challenged to a trial of pugilism by the King's son, he slew him.

  • "Let there be no vulgar display of pugilism here," he said, sharply.

    The Sins of the Children Cosmo Hamilton
  • The result of the man's effort at pugilism was almost ridiculous.

    The Evil Shepherd E. Phillips Oppenheim
British Dictionary definitions for pugilism


the art, practice, or profession of fighting with the fists; boxing
Derived Forms
pugilist, noun
pugilistic, adjective
pugilistically, adverb
Word Origin
C18: from Latin pugil a boxer; related to pugnus fist, pugna a fight
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 pugilism

1789, from Latin pugil "boxer, fist-fighter," related to pugnus "fist" (see pugnacious) + -ism. Pugilation "fighting with fists," now obsolete, is recorded from 1650s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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