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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Community Comment

Words of the day — pugilism

Good evening, Netizens...

February 26, 2013

Words of the Day

  • pugilism
  • audio pronunciation
  • \PYOO-juh-liz-um\


: boxing

Long fascinated by the art and science of pugilism, Shane has collected biographies of noted boxers such as Muhammad Ali, Jack Dempsey, and Sonny Liston.

"At 48, Cyr has found a way to make amateur pugilism pay. He's a participant and prime motivator behind an increasingly popular boxing event that pits members of the casino, nightclub, restaurant and even banking industries against each other." — From an article by John L. Smith in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, May 22, 2012


The practice of fighting for sport was in place in a number of Mediterranean civilizations by 1500 B.C. (and recent evidence suggests that it may have flourished in parts of eastern Africa before that). By the 7th century B.C., boxing had become a staple of the Olympic Games in Greece. Soon afterward, the Romans picked up the sport and introduced the word "pugil" (a noun related to the Latin "pugnus," meaning "fist") to refer to a boxer. Boxing faded out with the decline of the Roman Empire, but resurged in popularity in the18th century. By the 1790s, "pugilist" and "pugilism" were firmly entrenched in the English lexicon.

From Merriam-Webster Online at



Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.