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[puhnch] /pʌntʃ/
a thrusting blow, especially with the fist.
forcefulness, effectiveness, or pungency in content or appeal; power; zest:
a letter to voters that needs more punch.
verb (used with object)
to give a sharp thrust or blow to, especially with the fist.
Western U.S. and Western Canada. to drive (cattle).
to poke or prod, as with a stick.
Informal. to deliver (lines in a play, a musical passage, or the like) with vigor.
to strike or hit in operating:
to punch the typewriter keys.
to put into operation with or as if with a blow:
to punch a time clock.
Baseball. to hit (the ball) with a short, chopping motion rather than with a full swing:
He punched a soft liner just over third base for a base hit.
verb (used without object)
to give a sharp blow to a person or thing, as with the fist:
The boxer punches well.
Verb phrases
punch away, Informal. to keep trying or working, especially in difficult or discouraging circumstances; persevere:
punching away at the same old job.
punch in,
  1. to record one's time of arrival at work by punching a time clock.
  2. to keyboard (information) into a computer:
    to punch in the inventory figures.
punch out,
  1. to record one's time of departure from work by punching a time clock.
  2. Slang. to beat up or knock out with the fists.
  3. to extract (information) from a computer by the use of a keyboard:
    to punch out data on last week's sales.
  4. to bail out; eject from an aircraft.
punch up,
  1. to call up (information) on a computer by the use of a keyboard:
    to punch up a list of hotel reservations.
  2. Informal. to enliven, as with fresh ideas or additional material:
    You'd better punch up that speech with a few jokes.
pull punches,
  1. to lessen deliberately the force of one's blows.
  2. Informal. to act with restraint or hold back the full force or implications of something:
    He wasn't going to pull any punches when he warned them of what they would be up against.
roll with the punches, Informal. to cope with and survive adversity:
In the business world you quickly learn to roll with the punches.
Origin of punch1
1350-1400; Middle English punchen (v.); apparently variant of pounce1
Related forms
puncher, noun
3. strike, hit; drub, pummel. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for punched-up


to strike blows (at), esp with a clenched fist
(transitive) (Western US) to herd or drive (cattle), esp for a living
(transitive) to poke or prod with a stick or similar object
punch above one's weight, to do something that is considered to be beyond one's ability
a blow with the fist
(informal) telling force, point, or vigour: his arguments lacked punch
pull one's punches, See pull (sense 26)
Derived Forms
puncher, noun
Word Origin
C15: perhaps a variant of pounce²


a tool or machine for piercing holes in a material
any of various tools used for knocking a bolt, rivet, etc, out of a hole
a tool or machine used for stamping a design on something or shaping it by impact
the solid die of a punching machine for cutting, stamping, or shaping material
(computing) a device, such as a card punch or tape punch, used for making holes in a card or paper tape
(transitive) to pierce, cut, stamp, shape, or drive with a punch
Word Origin
C14: shortened from puncheon, from Old French ponçon; see puncheon²


any mixed drink containing fruit juice and, usually, alcoholic liquor, generally hot and spiced
Word Origin
C17: perhaps from Hindi pānch, from Sanskrit pañca five; the beverage originally included five ingredients


the main character in the traditional children's puppet show Punch and Judy
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for punched-up



"to thrust, push; jostle;" also, "prod, to drive (cattle, etc.) by poking and prodding," late 14c., from Old French ponchonner "to punch, prick, stamp," from ponchon "pointed tool, piercing weapon" (see punch (n.1)). Meaning "to pierce, emboss with a tool" is from early 15c.; meaning "to stab, puncture" is from mid-15c. To punch a ticket, etc., is from mid-15c. To punch the clock "record one's arrival at or departure from the workplace using an automated timing device" is from 1900. Related: Punched; punching.

Perhaps you are some great big chief, who has a lot to say.
Who lords it o'er the common herd who chance to come your way;
Well, here is where your arrogance gets a dreadful shock,
When you march up, like a private, salute, and PUNCH THE CLOCK.

[from "Punch the Clock," by "The Skipper," "The Commercial Telegraphers' Journal," May 1912]
Specialized sense "to hit with the fist" first recorded 1520s. Cf. Latin pugnare "to fight with the fists," from a root meaning "to pierce, sting." In English this was probably influenced by punish; "punch" or "punsch" for "punish" is found in documents from 14c.-15c.:
punchyth me, Lorde, and spare my blyssyd wyff Anne. [Coventry Mystery Plays, late 15c.]
To punch (someone) out "beat up" is from 1971.



"pointed tool for making holes or embossing," late 14c., short for puncheon (mid-14c.), from Old French ponchon, poinchon "pointed tool, piercing weapon," from Vulgar Latin *punctionem (nominative *punctio) "pointed tool," from past participle stem of Latin pungere "to prick" (see pungent). From mid-15c. as "a stab, thrust;" late 15c. as "a dagger." Meaning "machine for pressing or stamping a die" is from 1620s.



type of mixed drink, 1630s, traditionally since 17c. said to derive from Hindi panch "five," in reference to the number of original ingredients (spirits, water, lemon juice, sugar, spice), from Sanskrit panchan-s, from pancha "five" (see five). But there are difficulties (see OED), and connection to puncheon (n.1) is not impossible.



the puppet show star, 1709, shortening of Punchinello (1666), from Italian (Neapolitan) Pollecinella, Pollecenella, diminutive of pollecena "turkey pullet," probably in allusion to his big nose. The phrase pleased as punch apparently refers to his unfailing triumph over enemies. The comic weekly of this name was published in London from 1841.



"a quick blow with the fist," by 1570s, probably from punch (v.). In early use also of blows with the foot or jabs with a staff or club. Originally especially of blows that sink in to some degree ("... whom he unmercifully bruises and batters from head to foot: here a slap in the chaps, there a black eye, now a punch in the stomach, and then a kick on the breech," "Monthly Review," 1763). Figurative sense of "forceful, vigorous quality" is recorded from 1911. To beat (someone) to the punch in the figurative sense is from 1915, a metaphor from boxing (attested by 1913). Punch line (also punch-line) is from 1915 (originally in popular-song writing); punch-drunk is from 1915 (alternative form slug-nutty is from 1933).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for punched-up



Improved; increased in energy, impressiveness, impact, etc: no more than a punched-up form of the sentiment that the prose style of most social scientists ''is Greek to me'' (1950s+)



Power; force; impact; clout: This article has no punch (1911+)

Related Terms

can't fight one's way out of a paper bag, one-two, suckerpunch, sunday punch

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with punched-up
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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