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Punchinello

[puhn-chuh-nel-oh]
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noun, plural Pun·chi·nel·los, Pun·chi·nel·loes.
  1. a grotesque or absurd chief character in a puppet show of Italian origin: the prototype of Punch.
  2. any similarly grotesque or absurd person or thing.

Origin of Punchinello

1660–70; < Italian (Naples dial.) polecenella character in the puppet show, diminutive of polecana turkey-cock chick < Late Latin pullicēnus, derivative of Latin pullus pullet
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for punchinello

Historical Examples

  • A punchinello jarred against him with: “Pardonnez moi, pardie!”

    The Strollers

    Frederic S. Isham

  • It is also from Naples that we have taken the Punchinello dance.

    A Treatise on the Art of Dancing

    Giovanni-Andrea Gallini

  • Punchinello asks Columbine who has been with her, and she replies, "Only the servant."

    Stars of the Opera

    Mabel Wagnalls

  • The circus folk said Punchinello was not well and told him he must rest.

    The Green Forest Fairy Book

    Loretta Ellen Brady

  • Suddenly the child stopped, for Punchinello was no longer dancing.

    The Green Forest Fairy Book

    Loretta Ellen Brady


British Dictionary definitions for punchinello

Punchinello

noun plural -los or -loes
  1. a type of clown from Italian burlesque or puppet shows, the prototype of Punch
  2. (sometimes not capital) any grotesque or absurd character

Word Origin

C17: from earlier Polichinello, from Italian (Neapolitan dialect) Polecenella, from Italian pulcino chicken, ultimately from Latin pullus young animal
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

Word Origin and History for punchinello

Punchinello

n.

see Punch.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper