sparring partner

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sparring partner

1. Literally, someone with whom one practices martial arts or boxing. OK, John here is going to be your new sparring partner. He's tougher than you're used to, but he'll help your skills improve.
2. By extension, someone with whom one engages in a debate, argument, or heated discussion, especially when one enjoys doing so. I was sad to hear he wouldn't be in the class next semester—he was my favorite sparring partner during class discussions. The two have been sparring partners on the morning talk show for nearly ten years.
See also: partner, spar
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

sparring partner

An individual with whom one enjoys arguing, as in Jim's my best sparring partner. This expression alludes to boxing, where since about 1900 it has denoted the person one practices or trains with. [Mid-1900s] Also see spar with.
See also: partner, spar
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

a sparring partner

Someone's sparring partner is someone they enjoy arguing with or discussing things with. My old sparring partner Chris Moyles has got the Radio 1 breakfast show in place of Sara Cox. Note: This expressing comes from boxing, where a sparring partner was someone to practise with.
See also: partner, spar
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
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References in periodicals archive ?
Among Haye's sparring partners are unbeaten American Deontay Wilder and Pole Mariusz Wach, who lost on points to current WBA, IBF and WBO king Wladimir Klitschko just last year.
"In fact, probably for the next fight we are going to have to bring in American and European sparring partners because we are running out of British opponents.
"Look who Wladimir has used over the years - Michael Sprott, Ola Afolabi - he has the usual sparring partners who turn up and take big jabs all night long, get their pay cheque and everyone is happy.
Harrison taunted the reigning champion over rumours that he was knocked down in training by his sparring partner Tony Thompson.
Pacquiao (59-6-2) is preparing to defend his WBO World welterweight championship against the undefeated Horn (16-0-1) in Australia, and has so far breezed through his sparring partners despite the sluggish beginnings.
Nietes was set to leave for Los Angeles on Thursday night after being granted his US visa but his team decided to add a few more days to the training camp in Cebu because of the lack of sparring partners at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollwyood.
Pacquiao did five hard rounds with two different sparring partners at trainer Freddie Roach's Wild Card gym in Los Angeles as he gets down to the serious work.
Since arriving in the country since mid-October he has also been giving updates on his ventures as one of the sparring partners of the popular Pacquiao.
The Wavertree light-heavyweight counts Stevenson as favourite and in preparation for a potential showdown with the Canadian he has drawn up a list of sparring partners.
Haye is spending pounds 30,000 on sparring partners ahead of the fight being dubbed the Battle of Britain on November 13.
I was knocking out sparring partners who had been to prison when I was a 14-year-old kid.
"This particular day there were four white sparring partners, which was unusual, and he knocked out the first, then the second then the third.
Meanwhile the hunt is on for left-handed sparring partners as Simpson aims to make history by becoming the first boxer to win a British title in Coventry for the second time.
Team Pacquiao's Winchell Campos said, "On Christmas Day, while the rest of the world was busy exchanging gifts with loved ones, Manny traded blows with three sparring partners." Campos said the three sparmates kept Pacquiao busy.