• WordNet 3.6
    • n gladiator (ancient Rome) a professional combatant or a captive who entertained the public by engaging in mortal combat
    • n gladiator a professional boxer
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Spartacus led the revolt of the Roman slaves and gladiators in 73 B.C
    • Gladiator One who engages in any fierce combat or controversy.
    • Gladiator Originally, a swordplayer; hence, one who fought with weapons in public, either on the occasion of a funeral ceremony, or in the arena, for public amusement.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n gladiator In Rom. antiq., one who fought in public for the entertainment of the people, either with other gladiators or with wild animals. Gladiators were at first prisoners, slaves, or condemned criminals; but afterward freemen fought in the arena, either for hire or from choice. Under the empire, knights, senators, and even women exhibited themselves in this way. Gladiators were first exhibited only on the occasion of public funerals, but afterward at entertainments of various kinds, and especially at public festivals given by the ediles and other magistrates. They usually fought in the amphitheater, sometimes in the forum, sometimes at the funeral pyre. They were kept and trained in special establishments or schools, sometimes by persons who let them out for hire, sometimes by citizens who wished to exhibit them themselves. Gladiators were divided into different classes, according to their arms or mode of fighting. Thus, retiarii were such as carried a kind of trident and a net (rete), in which they endeavored to entangle their opponents, usually secutores (pursuers), who were lightly armed; Thraces were those armed with the round shield or buckler of the Thracians and a short sword or dagger; the mirmillones had an oblong shield curved to suit the shape of the body, and fought with either the Thraces or the retiarii. There were also those who fought blindfolded, their helmets being without eye-holes (andabatæ), in troops (catervarii), in chariots (essedarii), on horseback (equites), etc. In case the vanguished was not killed in the combat, the people were usually allowed to decide his fate. If they decreed his death, they extended their hands with the thumb bent and concealed (premo) by the clenched fingers; if they voted to spare him, they held out their hands with the thumb extended outward (verto). These precise gestures are still a subject of controversy, but the texts appear to support the version here given. According to a common interpretation, the downward gesture of the arm with fingers closed and thumb extended was the death-sentence, as shown in Gérôme's well-known painting “Pollice Verso.” Gladiatorial shows were maintained for nearly seven hundred years, till the fifth century a. d.
    • n gladiator A combatant in general; a boxer or prize-fighter; a wrestler; also, a disputant.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Gladiator glad′i-ā-tor in ancient Rome, a professional combatant with men or beasts in the arena
    • ***


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L., fr. gladius, sword. See Glaive
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
L., a swordsman—gladius, a sword.


In literature:

You will see how he will crush in the ribs of your gladiator, like an egg shell.
"The Continental Monthly, Vol 6, No 5, November 1864" by Various
The Emperor Commodus, in full panoply, met in the arena disabled and unarmed gladiators.
"Destruction and Reconstruction:" by Richard Taylor
Was there ever such a person as the Dying Gladiator?
"General John Regan" by George A. Birmingham
Seventy-eight gladiators condemned to fight to the death revolted in 74 B.C.
"Folkways" by William Graham Sumner
Watson and I solemnly shook hands; we were the gladiators of the occasion, and sympathised with one another.
"Chatterbox, 1906" by Various
I consider such a man as no better than a Roman gladiator.
"Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds" by Charles Mackay
The dark form of the lion darted forward, but again the form of the gladiator, with his customary maneuver, leaped aside and struck.
"The Martyr of the Catacombs" by Anonymous
Now they catch sight of each other, and rush together like two gladiators.
"The Western World" by W.H.G. Kingston
As for the gladiators!
""Unto Caesar"" by Baroness Emmuska Orczy
A duel between two such gladiators might be painful, but for all, a fearfully interesting spectacle.
"The Flag of Distress" by Mayne Reid

In poetry:

Yet was it well to wince, and cry
For anguish, and at wrong to gird?
Best,—like your gladiator, die
Without a word!
"Off Mesolongi" by Alfred Austin
I am aweary of the weary games.
Of blood and death my tired heart is full.
Nor fight of gladiators wins me now.
Nor combat with the Lithuanian bull.
"The Slave" by Ethel Clifford
As some spent gladiator, struck by Death,
Whose reeling vision scarce a foe defines,
For one last effort gathers all his breath,
England draws in her lines.
"Arms And The Man - The Beginning Of The End" by James Barron Hope
It gave new strength, and fearless mood;
And gladiators, fierce and rude,
Mingled it in their daily food;
And he who battled and subdued,
A wreath of fennel wore.
"The Goblet Of Life" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
We must go under the wallpaper
to meet the insect-gladiator,
to battle with a net and trident,
and leave the fountain and the square
But oh, that we could sleep up there…
"Sleeping on the Ceiling" by Elizabeth Bishop
To the Cirque of the Gladiators which faced—
That haggard mark of Imperial Rome,
Whose Pagan echoes mock the chime
Of our Christian time:
It was void, and I inward clomb.
"Her Death And After" by Thomas Hardy

In news:

Done USA Today has the first image of Mickey Rourke as Whiplash in "Iron Man 2," rocking a tech-gladiator look or something like that.
Komets, Gladiators finish with a line brawl.
Saunders and Zach Williams, a Cathedral Prep graduate, have signed with the Arena Football League's Cleveland Gladiators.
Mercedes Tigers keep Roma Gladiators at bay .
Tigers 35, Gladiators 28, OT.
He may play a gladiator on Starz's hit series Spartacus, but when it came time to pop the question, Liam McIntyre proved he's a real prince.
Last Monday night, our son and I watched the movie "Gladiator".
Gladiators pick up road win at Evansville .
Five different Gladiators found the back of the net Sunday at the Ford Center, as Gwinnett cruised to a 5-2 win over the Evansville IceMen.
Gladiators drop final exhibition game to South Carolina.
Gladiators explode past Orlando in third for 4-1 win.
Gwinnett Gladiators Ryan Donald (right) slips past Gwinnett Gladiators forward Joey Haddad (left) in a game last season at the Gwinnett Arena.
Mission Eagles hard- fought victory over Roma Gladiators.
The Largo Packers beat the Gibbs Gladiators: 37 to 14.
It's Ottawa's version of gladiator games, with the provinces all thrown together into a single arena to see which one will emerge victorious.