wu·​shu ˈwü-ˈshü How to pronounce wushu (audio)
: Chinese martial arts

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The name of the martial art wushu derives from the Beijing dialect of Chinese, where it was formed by combining the words for "martial" or "military" ("wǔ") and "art" ("shù"). This form of hand-to-hand combat (known more familiarly as "kung fu") was highly developed in China by the 3rd century B.C.E, and it is credited with influencing other martial arts that arose within Korea, Japan, and Southeast Asia. Modern wushu, however, has separated itself from traditional kung fu to emphasize aesthetics and performance. One of the more well-known divisions of wushu is tai chi, the ancient discipline of meditative movements practiced as a system of exercises.

Examples of wushu in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Liu describes it as a mix of Northern Shaolin kung fu and wushu styles. EW.com, 29 Jan. 2024 Tae kwon do, kickboxing, wushu, kung fu, jeet kune do, capoeira, krav maga. Joshua St. Clair, Men's Health, 24 Mar. 2023 That works just fine for the Macao sequences, although the movie veers in a different direction — trying to incorporate familiar wushu and anime elements — when Wenwu uses the amulets to access Ta Lo, a vaguely Lost World-like parallel dimension inhabited by fantastical creatures. Peter Debruge, Variety, 23 Aug. 2021 Because Shang-Chi is a master at several different types of martial arts, Cretton drew inspiration from various sources, from the elegant, almost ethereal wushu style of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon to the more kinetic choreography of Jackie Chan's action-comedies. Devan Coggan, EW.com, 19 Apr. 2021 Along with surfing and climbing, in the running to become new events are baseball/softball, bowling, karate, roller sports, squash, and wushu. The Editors, Outside Online, 24 June 2015 The Matrix expands that computer to envelop reality itself; the virtuosic bending and breaking of digital rules naturally becomes a kind of physics-defying wushu. Andy Greenberg, Wired, 1 Dec. 2021 These athletes may have more familiarity with different, edgy sports like breakdancing, sport climbing, parkour, wushu and skateboarding. Karen Weaver, Forbes, 25 Feb. 2021 China claimed the first gold medal of the games in the morning session with Sun Peiyuan's acrobatic victory in wushu's changquan discipline. John Pye, Fox News, 19 Aug. 2018 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'wushu.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Chinese (Beijing) wǔshù, from martial, military + shù art

First Known Use

1971, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of wushu was in 1971


Dictionary Entries Near wushu

Cite this Entry

“Wushu.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wushu. Accessed 22 Feb. 2024.

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