Word of the Day Archive
Saturday December 28, 2002
pugilist \PYOO-juh-list\ , noun:
One who fights with the fists; especially, a professional prize fighter; a boxer.
I had escaped my years as a pugilist with few of the badges that gave fellow-veterans of the ring the appearance of ruffians--missing eyes, mashed noses, or suchlike disfigurements--and had no more to show for my beatings than some small scars about my face and a nose that bore only the mild bumps and jagged edges that come with several breakings.
-- David Liss, A Conspiracy of Paper
Could it be that Podhoretz -- one of the famously embattled members of the New York intellectual world, a political pugilist who over the course of his life has perfected his roundhouse right -- is going soft?
-- Joseph Dorman, "Only in America," review of My Love Affair With America: The Cautionary Tale of a Cheerful Conservative, by Norman Podhoretz, New York Times, July 16, 2000
Pugilist comes from Latin pugil, a boxer; it is connected with pugnus, a fist. The adjective form is pugilistic. Pugilism is another term for the sport of boxing.