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

  • noun The short fat buffoon or clown in an Italian puppet show.
  • noun One who resembles a short fat clown.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun [lowercase] A puppet; specifically, a popular puppet of Italian origin, the prototype of Punch. See Punch.
  • noun Any grotesque or absurd personage, likened to the familiar character of the popular comedy in Italy.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A punch; a buffoon; originally, in a puppet show, a character represented as fat, short, and humpbacked.

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

  • proper noun A traditional Italian puppet, in the form of a short fat clown.
  • proper noun Somebody who resembles this puppet.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Variant of Polichinello, from Italian dialectal Pollecinella, diminutive of pollecena, turkey pullet (from the resemblance between its beak and Punchinello's nose), ultimately from Latin pullus, young chicken; see pullet.]


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word Punchinello.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.