In Latin, pugnare meant to fight—specifically, with the fists. It
lead to a few words still in use today, and a handful of obsolete terms, such
as appugn (to oppose), expugn
(to capture by fighting),
propugn (to fight for something),
and repugn (to fight or object).
A cousin is impugn, to fight something by calling its validity into
doubt. It may also involve assailing the actions of a person. Pugilist is a fancy name for a boxer, a man or woman who
engages in amateur or professional fistfights. A pugnacious person is quick to quarrel or fight.
That leaves one more
word related to a fist: pygmy.
In ancient Greece, πυγμή (pygme)
meant fist. It also was a unit of length—the measurement from the elbow to the
knuckles, a relatively short distance.
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