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

  • n. A short wooden upright used in structural framing.
  • n. A piece of broad, heavy, roughly dressed timber with one face finished flat.
  • n. A punching, perforating, or stamping tool, especially one used by a goldsmith.
  • n. A cask with a capacity of from 72 to 120 gallons (273 to 454 liters).
  • n. The amount of liquid contained in a puncheon.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A figured stamp, die, or punch, used by goldsmiths, cutlers, etc.
  • n. A short, upright piece of timber in framing; a short post; an intermediate stud.
  • n. A split log or heavy slab of timber with the face smoothed, used for flooring or construction.
  • n. A cask used to hold liquids, having a capacity varying from 72 to 120 gallons; a tercian.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A figured stamp, die, or punch, used by goldsmiths, cutlers, etc.
  • n. A short, upright piece of timber in framing; a short post; an intermediate stud.
  • n. A split log or heavy slab with the face smoothed.
  • n. A cask containing, sometimes 84, sometimes 120, gallons.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A perforating- or stamping-tool; a punch.
  • n. In carpentry: A short upright piece of timber in framing; a dwarf post, stud, or quarter.
  • n. A slab of split timber with the face smoothed with an adz or ax, sometimes used for flooring or bridge-boards in the absence of sawed boards.
  • n. One of the small quarters of a partition above the head of a door.
  • n. A cask; a liquid measure of from 72 to 120 gallons: as, a puncheon of wine.


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

Middle English punchon, from Old French ponçon, ponchon, from Vulgar Latin *pūnctiō, pūnctiōn-, punch, from *pūnctiāre, to pierce, from Latin pūnctus, past participle of pungere, to prick; see peuk- in Indo-European roots.
Middle English ponchon, from Old French poinçon, poinchon, punch, cask (probably because the casks were inspected and marked with a punch); see puncheon1.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Anglo-Norman ponchon, pounceon et al., and Middle French ponçon, poinchon et al., from Latin punctio ("action of piercing").


  • Under the window was a wide bench made of a half log, commonly called a puncheon bench, and the flooring was likewise of puncheons, that is, split logs with the flat side smoothed down.

    On the Trail of Pontiac

  • 1 A puncheon was the flat surface of a split log, smoothed with an ax and pinned to the joists to make the floors of the rude cabins constructed before sawmills were introduced.

    With Sabre and Scalpel. The Autobiography of a Soldier and Surgeon

  • Stumped toes in summer and cracked heels in winter were always in evidence with pupils during my school days, when the country child had a log cabin for a school room and "puncheon" benches for seats, and the farmer boys and girls of the rural neighborhood wore coarse home-fashioned clothes spun and woven in looms at home.

    Country life in Georgia in the days of my youth,

  • The table and chairs were made of "puncheon," or slabs of wood, with holes bored under each corner to stick the legs in.

    The Story of Young Abraham Lincoln

  • Innes sent a detail to Great Meadows to retrieve tools left there, and it “erected a puntion puncheon, split timber fort which when compleated must of course be of good service,” Innes predicted.

    George Washington’s First War

  • His body was a wine-pipe, or a rum-puncheon, or something of that character, and had a truly Falstaffian air.

    Archive 2008-12-01

  • This canteen (with a funnel on its top, like a cavalier cap slouched over the eyes) was set on edge upon the puncheon, with the hole toward myself; and through this hole, which seemed puckered up like the mouth of a very precise old maid, the creature was emitting certain rumbling and grumbling noises which he evidently intended for intelligible talk.

    Archive 2008-12-01

  • My dreams were terrifically disturbed by visions of the Angel of the Odd. Methought he stood at the foot of the couch, drew aside the curtains, and, in the hollow, detestable tones of a rum-puncheon, menaced me with the bitterest vengeance for the contempt with which I had treated him.

    Archive 2008-12-01

  • He takes my vintage at two hundred francs the puncheon, half down.

    Eug�nie Grandet

  • Larger fish were laid in saltbulk while smaller fish were pickled in puncheon tubs.

    Gutenber-e Help Page


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  • "Sinkler stepped closer to the entrance and saw two ladder-back chairs and a small table set on a puncheon floor."

    "The Trusty" by Ron Rash in the May 23, 2011 issue of the New Yorker, p 69

    May 25, 2011

  • That is to say, "327.32 litres, 11.56 cu feet, 72 gallons, or 2 barrels = 1 puncheon. Says this source.

    September 24, 2009

  • "When the sea was agitated by storm, or even sometimes at high tide, the well would be submerged. It would become invisible to the eye beneath the pounding surf, and those who anticipated the vagaries of the sea would hasten to scoop pails of fresh water and save them in a series of wooden barrels and puncheons secured to the rock above the high-water."

    - 'No Great Mischief', Alistair MacLeod.

    February 19, 2008

  • Excellent word! But that's a hell of a lot of rum!

    February 21, 2007

  • Let's have a puncheon of rum!

    February 21, 2007