Definition of gladiator in English:



  • (in ancient Rome) a man trained to fight with weapons against other men or wild animals in an arena.

    • ‘It promises to throw new light on the way gladiators fought and trained.’
    • ‘For, like ancient Rome and its gladiators, today's cities play host to colourful spectacles, marches, processions et al.’
    • ‘Yesterday, however, the players once again fought like gladiators and deserved at least a point.’
    • ‘The gladiators enter the arena, snarling and cursing each other.’
    • ‘In ancient Rome, gladiators waged bloody battles to prove who was the better man.’
    • ‘The most famous is probably the Colosseum where thousands of Roman citizens would gather for their entertainment - be it animals fighting or gladiators etc.’
    • ‘We buy and sell football players, as if they were servile gladiators in Ancient Rome.’
    • ‘He shows that gladiators who fought in the arena were treated much differently from those condemned to die in any number of spectacular ways (damnati or noxii).’
    • ‘Telling Verus' story takes viewers into his world, showing how gladiators really fought and trained and how the greatest amphitheatre of all was built.’
    • ‘Spartacus is the tale of a slave who was trained as a gladiator and led a bloody revolt against his Roman masters more than 2,000 years ago.’
    • ‘As vital as the bread and the oil for keeping the people happy, were the numerous and frequent circuses scattered all over the city, where gladiators fought wild beasts and each other.’
    • ‘As Roman gladiators entered the arena, they faced the emperor's box and exclaimed: ‘Hail, Caesar!’’
    • ‘This is especially applied to those players engaged in team sports where you have to engage others, comparable to throwing gladiators into the arena.’
    • ‘Now the games that involved, and we can basically say that they were blood sports, they might involve pitting of slaves or prisoners of war, against wild animals or gladiators.’
    • ‘We suppose there were alternatives, like going to the gladiator fights together, or conversing.’
    • ‘The glare of the floodlights focussed on the gladiators engaged in the middle, the arena one grand spectacle, the game fierce and engaging.’
    • ‘Leaving the theater, we see around the Colosseum street artists disguised as gladiators and centurions to entertain tourists…’
    • ‘The Romans had the biggest and the grandest gladiator fights in the colosseums where one always beat the best.’
    • ‘It was very flattering, except for one thing: if I am to fight like a gladiator, they can't run a picture of me with my glasses.’
    • ‘Although their final outcomes may have been brutal, ancient Roman gladiators fought like gentlemen, according to new research.’


Late Middle English: from Latin, from gladius ‘sword’.