plural noun
fist·​i·​cuffs | \ ˈfi-sti-ˌkəfs How to pronounce fisticuffs (audio) \

Definition of fisticuffs

: a fight with the fists

Examples of fisticuffs in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web One technical was called, on Ohio State’s Duane Washington Jr., and the officials had to step in many times to avoid fisticuffs. cleveland, "E.J. Liddell, No. 21 Ohio State basketball powers past No. 14 Illinois 87-81," 16 Jan. 2021 There aren't many sports where containing personal mist and maintaining social distancing are more difficult than the Sweet Science of fisticuffs. Star Tribune, "Which sports dealt best with the coronavirusvirus? Here are the grades," 7 Nov. 2020 The opposition parties are already failing to find common cause, with bickering between rival factions sometimes descending into fisticuffs. The Economist, "Angry Kyrgyz rebel against a tainted election—for the third time," 7 Oct. 2020 Gibson’s club in particular seemed to relish the brawls—often literal fisticuffs—Lowndes said. James Ross Gardner, The New Yorker, "The Inevitable Tragedy of a Summer on Edge in Portland," 1 Sep. 2020 Overall, the fisticuffs are more complex, but the new moves don’t always work well. Gieson Cacho, Star Tribune, "'Battletoads' is back, and it's still a challenge," 26 Aug. 2020 No, coming to fisticuffs is really more of a job for bootcut jeans — and Denise has a closet full of 'em. Jodi Walker,, "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills recap: She's Denise Richards," 14 May 2020 Naturally, there is all manner of property damage, fisticuffs, and death-defying leaps as well as plenty of high-speed car chases and explosions, because that's what this franchise is ultimately all about: the characters and the amazing stunts. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Fast & Furious 9 trailer: The only 4 minutes of the film you’ll need to watch," 31 Jan. 2020 Last week: 6 Result: Beat Cal Poly 45-7 Next up: Open (then vs. Stanford) Comment: One win + no fisticuffs + Jake Luton remaining upright = great day to be a Beaver. *** SOUTH 1. Jon Wilner, The Mercury News, "Power ratings: The case for Cal (yes, Cal) winning the North," 16 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fisticuffs.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of fisticuffs

1605, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for fisticuffs

alteration of fisty cuff, from fisty fistic + cuff

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about fisticuffs

Time Traveler for fisticuffs

Time Traveler

The first known use of fisticuffs was in 1605

See more words from the same year

Statistics for fisticuffs

Last Updated

23 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Fisticuffs.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for fisticuffs


How to pronounce fisticuffs (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of fisticuffs

old-fashioned : a fight with fists

More from Merriam-Webster on fisticuffs

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for fisticuffs

Nglish: Translation of fisticuffs for Spanish Speakers

Comments on fisticuffs

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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