pugilism


fist-fighting, boxing

STATISTICS

IN THE PRESS

“PUGILISTS and aesthetes are not necessarily in opposing corners. In a history of the sport that dates back to Homer, Virgil and other ancient fight fans, Kasia Boddy, a lecturer in English at University College London, examines the strange attraction boxing holds for highbrow folk.”

The Economist

Did you
know?

pugilism
noun

- the art, practice, or profession of fighting with the fists; boxing

Collins Dictionary


ORIGIN

The sport of boxing had its Olympic initiation more than 2,500 years ago in the 23rd Olympiad of 688 BCE. The ancient Romans adopted the sport from the Greeks, and we adopted the word "pugilism" from them: the Latin word pugil means “boxer.” (The word is related to the Latin pugnus, meaning “fist.”)

Boxing faded out with the decline of the Roman Empire, but resurged in popularity in the 18th century. By the century’s end, pugilist and pugilism were firmly entrenched in the English lexicon, and pugilism now sees additional use in reference to metaphorical sparring, as in a political debate.


USAGE WARNING

Be warned when you hear or read the term "pugilist". Nowadays, the term is often sarcastic in tone and critical of boxing’s claims for legitimacy. The implication is that boxing is essentially savage behaviour masquerading as sport. However, if you hear the term “fighter” you can be more certain it’s used with approval, or at least without prejudice.


WHY HEAVILY-BEARDED MEN LIVED LONGER

Men with full beards are perceived as being more masculine, socially dominant, and behaviourally aggressive in comparison to clean-shaven men.

A recent scientific study hypothesized that beards may have functioned similarly to the long hair of a lion’s mane, serving to protect vital areas like the throat and jaw from damaging strikes. This is consistent with the observation that the lower jawbone, which is superficially covered by the beard, is one of the most commonly fractured facial bones in interpersonal violence.

The complete research paper is available online from Oxford University Press.

“Impact Protection Potential of Mammalian Hair: Testing the PUGILISM Hypothesis for the Evolution of Human Facial Hair”.
E. A. Beseris, S. E. Naleway, D. R. Carrier - Integrative Organismal Biology, Volume 2, Issue 1, 2020 - Oxford University Press


SYNONYMS

bare-knuckle boxing/fighting, brawl, fisticuffs, glove game, noble art of self defence, prizefighting, PUGILISM, punching competition, slugfest, sparring, the fight game, the prize ring, fist-fight, punch-up


SMUGGLE OWAD into a chat today, say something like:

“You wouldn't believe it, but under the heading ‘Legislative Violence’, Wikipedia documents scenes of PUGILISM in over fifty parliaments.”


HERZLICHEN DANK to all readers helping me keep OWAD alive with single or monthly donations at:

https://donorbox.org/please-become-a-friend-of-owad-3

Paul Smith

More Word Quizzes:

talk turkey

9 months ago

to speak honestly

Congrats Your Answer is Correct.

to speak nonsense

SORRY,
please try again...

to speak about Christmas

SORRY,
please try again...

in rude health

9 months ago

in very bad health

SORRY,
please try again...

in very good health

Congrats Your Answer is Correct.

in one’s birthday suit

SORRY,
please try again...

somnambulism

9 months ago

a skin-pigment disorder

SORRY,
please try again...

a tendency to sleepwalk

Congrats Your Answer is Correct.

an inability to sleep

SORRY,
please try again...

recalcitrance

9 months ago

rebelliousness

Congrats Your Answer is Correct.

recovery

SORRY,
please try again...

rejection

SORRY,
please try again...

Break a leg!

9 months ago

Pay a high price for the best

SORRY,
please try again...

If you fail, it will be your own fault

SORRY,
please try again...

I wish you good luck

Congrats Your Answer is Correct.

Copyright © 2022 - OWAD. All Rights Reserved.