from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Any of various arts of self-defense, such as aikido, karate, judo, or tae kwon do, usually practiced as sport.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Commonly, any of several fighting styles which contain systematized methods of training for combat, both armed and unarmed; often practiced as a sport, e.g. boxing, karate, judo, Silat, wrestling, or Muay Thai.
  • noun military skills, proficiency in military strategy, prowess in warfare

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun any of several Oriental arts of weaponless self-defense; usually practiced as a sport


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Collocation of martial + art, coined in 1933 as a loan translation of Japanese bujutsu. But already in Pope's Iliad (1715, 4.360), and in Sotheby's Iliad (1831, book 6).


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