Definition of pugilist in English:



humorous, dated
  • A boxer, especially a professional one.

    • ‘The pint-sized pugilist carved a niche in the local professional fight game, a victory which catapulted him into the record books.’
    • ‘When Sonny did embark on a comeback he went to Europe and reeled off a series of wins against some non-threatening pugilists.’
    • ‘We were nine USA Olympic Champion pugilists competing in the 1960 Rome Olympic Games.’
    • ‘Remember that if he wasn't playing football, Hall would be a professional pugilist and probably a bloody good one given that he can knock a player down, even when he didn't mean to throw the punch!’
    • ‘While not the gritty young pugilists often associated with old-school boxing gyms such as Gleason's, the men exemplify the type of boxer who has become a mainstay of New York's traditional fight halls.’
    boxer, fighter, prizefighter, sparring partner
    bruiser, pug
    View synonyms


Mid 18th century: from Latin pugil boxer + -ist.