plural noun

fist·​i·​cuffs ˈfi-sti-ˌkəfs How to pronounce fisticuffs (audio)
: a fight with the fists

Examples of fisticuffs in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Congressional Republicans, who just days ago were displaying bitter discord and nearly coming to fisticuffs on the House floor, are now launching new investigations and inquiries. Anchorage Daily News, 13 Jan. 2023 While their earlier cousins might resort to such fisticuffs, the anal-scrapers conduct their rivalries with all the restraint of Victorian gentlemen. Ed Yong, Discover Magazine, 27 Dec. 2010 Airline passengers, international tourists and even airplane pilots got more than a bit lively this year too, with fisticuffs, high jinks and underclad exhibitionism breaking out all over the place. CNN, 31 Dec. 2022 Violence broke out at more than 100 events and often involved fisticuffs with opposing groups, including left-wing activists such as antifa. Mike McIntire,, 26 Nov. 2022 The argument eventually ends with fisticuffs because Cooper doesn’t seem sure how to exit out of the premise any other way. Elisabeth Vincentelli, New York Times, 2 Dec. 2022 Owens, 48, told NBC News Monday afternoon that the TMZ footage accurately depicted the fisticuffs, but didn't capture what led up to the fight. Diana Dasrath, NBC News, 28 Nov. 2022 After several minute of antagonistic behavior, one of the men took him up on fisticuffs. John Benson, cleveland, 14 Sep. 2022 From local civic fisticuffs to mass school shootings, most of us have an internal voice that says stop. WSJ, 17 Aug. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'fisticuffs.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


alteration of fisty cuff, from fisty fistic + cuff

First Known Use

1605, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of fisticuffs was in 1605

Dictionary Entries Near fisticuffs

Cite this Entry

“Fisticuffs.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


noun plural
fist·​i·​cuffs ˈfis-ti-ˌkəfs How to pronounce fisticuffs (audio)
: a fight with fists

More from Merriam-Webster on fisticuffs

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!