glad·​i·​a·​tor ˈgla-dē-ˌā-tər How to pronounce gladiator (audio)
: 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
gladiatorial adjective

Example Sentences

the two punch-drunk gladiators stumbled to their corners
Recent Examples on the Web But one thing seems clear: FTX’s obliteration is Binance’s gain—with Zhao the gladiator standing atop its bloodied corpse. Vivienne Walt, Fortune, 16 Nov. 2022 The mountains of this city look like stacked horseshoes, its valleys a gladiator pit, its skyscrapers like Egyptian obelisks. Melinda Sheckells, The Hollywood Reporter, 12 Nov. 2022 The gladiator lessons that Luca has taken in the park with wooden swords and spears have drawn less attention. Jason Horowitz, The New Yorker, 9 Nov. 2022 Together, Criston and Aemond search the Street of Silk as Arryk and Erryk stake out a child gladiator ring. Lauren Puckett-pope, ELLE, 16 Oct. 2022 Set in Roman times, the story of a once-powerful general forced to become a common gladiator. Travis Bean, Forbes, 8 Oct. 2022 Remember the knee-high wrap-up gladiator sandals of yesteryear? Meg Donohue, ELLE, 23 Sep. 2022 Rick Owens’s gladiator-style platform sandals were adorned with hair, and who can forget Jonathan Anderson’s deflated balloons at Loewe? Laia Garcia-furtado, Vogue, 12 Oct. 2022 Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome did a post-apocalyptic gladiator battle better decades ago. Erik Kain, Forbes, 10 Oct. 2022 See More

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.

Word History


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

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near gladiator

Cite this Entry

“Gladiator.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition



glad·​i·​a·​tor ˈglad-ē-ˌāt-ər How to pronounce gladiator (audio)
: a person engaged in a fight to the death for public entertainment in ancient Rome
: a person engaging in a fierce fight or controversy
gladiatorial adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on gladiator

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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