noun \ˈgla-dē-ˌā-tər\

: a man in ancient Rome who fought against another man or animal for public entertainment

Full Definition of GLADIATOR

:  a person engaged in a fight to the death as public entertainment for ancient Romans
:  a person engaging in a public fight or controversy
:  a trained fighter; especially :  a professional boxer
glad·i·a·to·ri·al \ˌgla-dē-ə-ˈtr-ē-əl\ adjective

Examples of GLADIATOR

  1. <the two punch-drunk gladiators stumbled to their corners>


Latin, from gladius sword, of Celtic origin; akin to Welsh cleddyf sword
First Known Use: 15th century

Rhymes with GLADIATOR

abdicator, abnegator, activator, actuator, adulator, advocator, agitator, alligator, allocator, animator, annotator, applicator, arbitrator, aspirator, aviator, brachiator, buccinator, calculator, calibrator, captivator, carburetor, castigator, circulator, commentator, commutator, compensator, compurgator, concentrator, confiscator, congregator, consecrator, consummator, contemplator, corporator, correlator, cultivator, decorator, defalcator, delegator, demonstrator, denigrator, depredator, desecrater, designator, detonator, deviator, dissipater, dominator, dura mater, educator, elevator, emulator, escalator, estimator, excavator, explicator, expurgator, extirpator, fabricator, fascinator, figure skater, flocculator, formulator, fornicator, fractionator, fumigator, generator, hesitater, hibernator, imitator, immolator, impregnator, incubator, indicator, infiltrator, in-line skater, innovator, inhalator, inspirator, instigator, insulator, integrator, lacrimator, liberator, liquidator, literator, lubricator, macerator, masticator, mediator, mitigator, moderator, modulator, motivator, mutilator, navigator, nomenclator, nominator, numerator, obturator, operator, orchestrator, oscillator, peculator, percolator, perforator, perpetrator, pia mater, pollinator, postulator, procreator, procurator, promulgator, propagator, punctuator, radiator, re-creator, remonstrator, renovator, resonator, respirator, revelator, roller skater, rubricator, rusticator, salivator, second-rater, selling-plater, separator, simulator, stimulator, subjugator, Sunset Crater, syncopator, syndicator, tabulator, terminator, vaccinator, vacillator, valuator, venerator, ventilator, vindicator, violator, vitiator


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Professional combatant in ancient Rome who engaged in fights to the death as sport. Gladiators originally performed at Etruscan funerals, the intent being to give the dead man armed attendants in the next world. At Rome gladiator matches were wildly popular from 264 BC. By the time of Julius Caesar, 300 pairs would fight at a single show; by the time of Trajan, 5,000 combatants of various classes would fight. In the late Roman republic the audience called for death with thumbs downward (or thumbs toward their breasts) and for mercy with handkerchiefs (or thumbs downward, according to some sources). The victor earned palm branches or money, and after a few victories a gladiator could be freed. Most were slaves or criminals, but a talented or handsome one could become a favourite of society; since they often served as bodyguards, they occasionally became politically important. Domitian delighted in using dwarfs and women as gladiators. With the coming of Christianity the games began to fall into disfavour, but they may have continued into the 6th century. See also Spartacus.


Next Word in the Dictionary: gladiatorian
Previous Word in the Dictionary: gladiate
All Words Near: gladiator

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up gladiator? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).