: any of various Chinese martial arts and related disciplines that are practiced especially for self-defense, exercise, and spiritual growth

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web With my love of old tearjerkers, tough women actioners, and kung fu movies, all of which populated my childhood viewing habits, Lee’s masterpiece seemed tailor made for me. Odie Henderson, BostonGlobe.com, 16 Feb. 2023 Kevin Leung, who spoke at Wednesday’s vigil holding a long candle, said Ma had given his kung fu class a home for eight years. Los Angeles Times, 25 Jan. 2023 Then again, these two successfully visualized countless parallel universes featuring Michelle Yeoh’s Evelyn in all forms of mad situations — from being a kung fu master and movie star to an insightful googly-eyed rock. Todd Gilchrist, Variety, 15 Feb. 2023 This fair celebrating the Lunar New Year in the Gaslamp Quarter takes place this weekend, with Asian art, lion dances, kung fu, traditional instruments, classical dance troupes, Chinese and Asian food, and much more. San Diego Union-Tribune, 1 Feb. 2023 Try out kung fu, surfing, climbing and more activities. Paris Wolfe, cleveland, 1 Dec. 2022 There was Mariah Carey in a pair with the waistband sheared off, Janet Jackson in her low-slung pants and cropped leather jackets combo, Cameron Diaz in her Charlie’s Angels-era kung fu-ready denim. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, 12 Dec. 2022 There will be lion dancers, kung fu performances, classical dance troupes, vendors, food, activities for children and more. San Diego Union-Tribune, 14 Jan. 2023 Reasoning: there are hundreds of thousands of sensory and movement neural channels being activated while learning of kung fu (not even counting vision, which has a million channels per eye). Malcolm Maciver, Discover Magazine, 2 Nov. 2010 See More

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

Word History


Chinese (Beijing) gōngfu skill, art

First Known Use

1870, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of kung fu was in 1870

Dictionary Entries Near kung fu

Cite this Entry

“Kung fu.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/kung%20fu. Accessed 22 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition

: a Chinese art of self-defense resembling karate

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