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

  • n. A tool for circular or other piercing: a leather punch.
  • n. A tool for forcing a pin, bolt, or rivet in or out of a hole.
  • n. A tool for stamping a design on a surface.
  • n. A tool for making a countersink.
  • transitive v. To use a punch or use a punch on.
  • transitive v. To hit with a sharp blow of the fist.
  • transitive v. To poke or prod with a stick.
  • transitive v. Western U.S. To herd (cattle).
  • transitive v. To depress (a key or button, for example) in order to activate a device or perform an operation: punched the "repeat” key; punched in the number on the computer.
  • transitive v. Baseball To hit (a ball) with a quick short swing.
  • n. A blow with the fist.
  • n. Vigor or drive. See Synonyms at vigor.
  • punch in To check in formally at a job upon arrival.
  • punch out To check out formally at a job upon departure.
  • punch out To knock unconscious with a punch.
  • punch out Slang To eject from a military aircraft.
  • idiom beat to the punch To make the first decisive move: a marketing team that beat all the competitors to the punch.
  • n. A beverage of fruit juices and sometimes a soft drink or carbonated water, often spiced and mixed with a wine or liquor base.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A hit or strike with one's fist.
  • n. Power, strength, energy.
  • n. Impact.
  • n. A button (of a joypad, joystick or similar device) whose only or main current function is that when it is pressed causes a video game character to punch.
  • v. To strike with one's fist.
  • v. To herd.
  • v. To operate (a device or system) by depressing a button, key, bar, or pedal, or by similar means.
  • v. To enter (information) on a device or system.
  • v. To hit (a ball or similar object) with less than full force.
  • v. To make holes in something (rail ticket, leather belt, etc)
  • n. A device, generally slender and round, used for creating holes in thin material, for driving an object through a hole in a containing object, or to stamp or emboss a mark or design on a surface.
  • n. A mechanism for punching holes in paper or other thin material.
  • n. A hole or opening created with a punch
  • v. To employ a punch to create a hole in or stamp or emboss a mark on something.
  • v. To mark a ticket.
  • n. A beverage, generally containing a mixture of fruit juice and some other beverage, often alcoholic.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A beverage composed of wine or distilled liquor, water (or milk), sugar, and the juice of lemon, with spice or mint; -- specifically named from the kind of spirit used
  • n. The buffoon or harlequin of a puppet show.
  • n. A short, fat fellow; anything short and thick.
  • n. One of a breed of large, heavy draught horses.
  • n. A thrust or blow.
  • n. A tool, usually of steel, variously shaped at one end for different uses, and either solid, for stamping or for perforating holes in metallic plates and other substances, or hollow and sharpedged, for cutting out blanks, as for buttons, steel pens, jewelry, and the like; a die.
  • n. An extension piece applied to the top of a pile; a dolly.
  • n. A prop, as for the roof of a mine.
  • transitive v. To thrust against; to poke.
  • transitive v. To perforate or stamp with an instrument by pressure, or a blow

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To make a hole or holes in with a punch or some similar instrument; pierce; perforate: as, to punch a metal plate.
  • To make with or as with a punch: as, to punch a hole in something.
  • Same as punish.
  • To give a blow, dig, or thrust to; beat with blows of the fist: as, to punch One on the head, or to punch one's head.
  • Short and fat.
  • n. A short, fat fellow.
  • n. A short-legged, barrel-bodied horse, of an English draft-breed.
  • n. A tool the working end of which is pointed, blunt, a continuous edge inclosing an area, or a pattern in relief or intaglio, and which acts either by pressure or percussion (applied in the direction of its longitudinal axis) to perforate or indent a solid material, or to drive out or in objects inserted in previously formed perforations or cavities.
  • n. A tool used to force nail-heads below the surface.
  • n. A stone-masons' chipping-tool; a puncheon.
  • n. In surgery, an instrument used for extracting the stumps of teeth.
  • n. In decorative art, a tool in the form of a bar, sometimes fitted with a handle and engraved at the end in a cross, concentric ring, or other device. It is used for impressing ornamental patterns upon clay or other plastic materials.
  • n. The engraved model of a printing-type on the end of a steel rod: so called from its being punched in a copper bar which makes the matrix, or a reversed impression of the model.
  • n. In carpentry, studding by which a roof is supported.
  • n. In hydraulic engineering, a short length placed on the top of a pile to permit the monkey of a piledriver to bear upon it when it has been driven too low to be struck directly; a dolly.
  • n. In coal-mining, same as pout.
  • n. A punch operated by the rolling action of two levers on one fulcrum, forming a toggle.
  • n. A blow, dig, or thrust, us with the fist, elbow, or knee: as, to give one a punch in the ribs or a punch on the head.
  • n. A short humpbacked hook-nosed puppet, with a squeaking voice, the chief character in a street puppet-show called “Punch and Judy,” who strangles his child, beats his wife (Judy) to death, belabors a policeman, and does other tragical and outrageous things in a comical way.
  • n. A drink commonly made with wine or spirits, and either water or some substitute, as a decoction of tea, and flavored with lemon-juice or lemon-peel and sugar.

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

  • v. deliver a quick blow to
  • v. make a hole into or between, as for ease of separation
  • n. an iced mixed drink usually containing alcohol and prepared for multiple servings; normally served in a punch bowl
  • n. a tool for making holes or indentations
  • n. (boxing) a blow with the fist
  • v. drive forcibly as if by a punch


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

Middle English pounce, punche, from Old French poinçon, ponchon; see puncheon1. V., from Middle English pouncen, punchen, to prick, from Old French poinçoner, ponchoner, to emboss with a punch; see punch2.
Middle English punchen, to thrust, prod, prick, from Old French poinçonner, ponchonner, to emboss with a punch, from poinçon, ponchon, pointed tool; see puncheon1.
Perhaps from Hindi pañc, five, from Sanskrit pañca (from its originally having been prepared from five ingredients); see penkwe in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French ponchonner ("to punch"), from ponchon ("pointed tool"), from Latin punctus, perfect passive participle of pungō ("I prick"). Possibly influenced by punish. Also probably related to pounce.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Shortened form of puncheon, from Old French ponchon ("pointed tool"), from Latin punctus, perfect passive participle of pungō ("I prick").

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Hindi पाँच (pāñć, "five"), because of the drink's original five ingredients (spirits, water, lemon juice, sugar, and spice), from Sanskrit पञ्चन् (páñcan).



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  • "The most popular new drink was punch. Introduced by East India merchants and served in ornate silver or decorated china bowls, punch had five main ingredients (hence its name -- panch means 'five' in Hindi): brandy, wine, lemons (even better, rare limes from the West Indies), sugar and spice. Sometimes rum, or rumbullion, made from the fermented residues of the sugar-refining process -- molasses -- was also added. Unsurprisingly, the mixture was incredibly potent."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 223

    January 18, 2017

  • "...and when I was in my best story of the Duke of Marlborough and Prince Eugene, he asked if I had not a good hand at making punch. Yes, Kate, he asked your father if he was a maker of punch!"

    Goldsmith, She Stoops, III

    January 11, 2007

  • "Power or ability to produce a striking effect; energy; effectiveness. Slang."

    December 14, 2006