Here’s Why Fencing Is Called Fencing

Why is fencing called “fencing”?

We wondered the same thing. Turns out the name “fencing” is derived from the French word “défense”  which, back in the 14th century, was spelled “défence” and referred to the act of defending. If you go back even further, the word comes from the Latin word “defens.”

So why didn’t they just call it sword fighting?

Historically, fencing schools taught more than just swordsmanship. The sport also involved the use of shields, daggers, pikes and more. So, in that context, it seems appropriate that it was given a more all-encompassing name.

When did the Olympics start to include fencing?

Fencing was first introduced in the 1896 Olympic Games in Athens. Women’s fencing was included later, at the Paris Games in 1924.

So there you have it. The more you know…

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