glad·​i·​a·​tor | \ ˈgla-dē-ˌā-tər How to pronounce gladiator (audio) \

Definition of gladiator

1 : a person engaged in a fight to the death as public entertainment for ancient Romans
2 : a person engaging in a public fight or controversy
3 : a trained fighter especially : a professional boxer

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from gladiator

gladiatorial \ ˌgla-​dē-​ə-​ˈtȯr-​ē-​əl How to pronounce gladiatorial (audio) \ adjective

Examples of gladiator in a Sentence

the two punch-drunk gladiators stumbled to their corners
Recent Examples on the Web There’s certainly an ethical dilemma to rooting for violence, to having a gladiator-like bloodthirst that comes with a public stamp of approval. Chris Mannix,, "Maxim Dadashev's Death a Heartbreaking Result of a Violent Sport," 24 July 2019 Wizards, dragons, princesses, horses, cars, motorcycles, airplanes, ships, ray guns, teddy bears, his family dog, pirates, car chases, Nazis, gangsters, samurai, dogfights, gunfights, swordfights, fist fights, gladiators, spies, castles, and robots. Wired, "The WIRED Guide to Star Wars," 22 Nov. 2019 Versace started low-key with a series of little black dresses, revealing in a business-like way, worn with strappy, nearly invisible sandals, some wrapping up the leg gladiator-style. Colleen Barry, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Milan Fashion: J-Lo struts updated jungle dress at Versace," 20 Sep. 2019 Boryla stood in the pocket at a time when players were celebrated as gladiators and nobody had heard of CTE. Mark Kiszla, The Denver Post, "Kiszla: Is NFL football worth wrecking a man’s health? After Andrew Luck answered no, Broncos defender Derek Wolfe began to wonder.," 26 Oct. 2019 In a statement, Massimo Osanna, director of the Pompeii Archaeological Park, says the establishment probably proved popular among the city’s gladiators, who lived nearby. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Archaeologists Unearth Bloody Gladiator Fresco in Pompeii," 15 Oct. 2019 Large meetings in the Oval Office - a mainstay early in Trump's presidency, where aides would hold gladiator-like policy fights - have been limited, current and former administration officials said. Author: Josh Dawsey, Carol D. Leonnig, Anchorage Daily News, "Efforts to shield Ukraine call reflect broad secrecy push," 27 Sep. 2019 The eldest Obama completed the look with a must-have Mansur Gavriel bucket bag in red and gladiator-style sandals that wrapped around her ankles. Mekita Rivas,, "Sasha Obama Proved That Slip Dresses & Sneakers Are The Ultimate Summer Outfit Formula," 20 June 2019 Skirts, dresses and shorts were paired with shoes that went to mid-calf, either a lacing gladiator sandal or sneaker boots adorned with the signature Longchamp horse. Washington Post, "Longchamp doesn’t want to be remembered as just French," 7 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gladiator.' 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 gladiator

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for gladiator

Latin, from gladius sword, of Celtic origin; akin to Welsh cleddyf sword

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about gladiator

Time Traveler for gladiator

Time Traveler

The first known use of gladiator was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for gladiator

Last Updated

12 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Gladiator.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 23 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for gladiator


How to pronounce gladiator (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of gladiator

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


glad·​i·​a·​tor | \ ˈgla-dē-ˌā-tər How to pronounce gladiator (audio) \

Kids Definition of gladiator

: a man in ancient Rome who took part in fights as public entertainment

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on gladiator

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


out of the ordinary or unreasonable

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Intact Latin Quiz

  • roman tablet
  • What did focus mean in Latin?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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