martial art


Definition of martial art

: any of several arts of combat and self-defense (such as karate and judo) that are widely practiced as sport

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Other Words from martial art

martial artist noun

Examples of martial art in a Sentence

He was trained in the martial arts.

Recent Examples on the Web

Joe’s popularity peaked in 1986, but then met unexpected competition in the form of four anthropomorphic turtles with a taste for martial arts. Maude Campbell, Popular Mechanics, "Yo, Joe: How a 12-Inch Soldier Doll Became a Toy Legend," 9 Apr. 2019 One location in particular is painted in loving, lush detail — a spacious martial arts sanctuary in the middle of a sprawling garden. Danelle Landis, The Seattle Times, "Ketchikan author discusses new fantasy novel," 30 Mar. 2019 His current position puts him at the top of an operation that includes art fairs, model agencies, UFC—the martial arts federation—and the Miss Universe organization. Liz Cantrell, Town & Country, "Who Is Lauren Sanchez's Husband, Patrick Whitesell?," 8 Feb. 2019 Queen Rania of Jordan joined her husband, King Abdullah, earlier today in Amman to meet with the national martial arts sports team. Edward Barsamian, Vogue, "Queen Rania of Jordan Mixes Local and Global Designers Like a Royal Pro," 12 Sep. 2018 The 22-year-old Van Varenberg is the youngest son of Van Damme, known for his martial arts action films of the 1980s and 1990s. Fox News, "Jean-Claude Van Damme's son pleads guilty in Arizona knife incident," 16 Aug. 2018 Rajman’s wallet was found in a neighbor’s front yard, along with a martial arts sword and Rajman’s phone. Marc Freeman,, "Records reveal MMA fighter Aaron Rajman was killed in drug robbery gone bad," 29 June 2018 This inclusive, cross-cultural event features performances by the Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia and a martial arts demonstration from Zhang Sah Martial Arts, food trucks, and a Kids’ Zone, among other attractions. Claire Wolters,, "Where to find free food in Philly for July Fourth," 27 June 2018 Clapping and thigh slapping recall juba dancing, and a circle dance suggests the rudimentary moves of the Afro-Brazilian martial arts form capoeira. Karen Campbell,, "A moving ‘Vessel,’ in more ways than one," 29 June 2018

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

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First Known Use of martial art

1920, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for martial art

Last Updated

20 May 2019

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Time Traveler for martial art

The first known use of martial art was in 1920

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More Definitions for martial art

martial art


English Language Learners Definition of martial art

: any one of several forms of fighting and self-defense (such as karate and judo) that are widely practiced as sports

martial art


Kids Definition of martial art

: any of several forms of combat and self-defense (as karate or judo) that are widely practiced as sports

More from Merriam-Webster on martial art

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with martial art Encyclopedia article about martial art

Comments on martial art

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


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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