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[puhn-chee] /ˈpʌn tʃi/
adjective, punchier, punchiest. Informal.
being or appearing vigorously effective; forceful.
Origin of punchy
First recorded in 1935-40; punch1 + -y1
Related forms
punchiness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for punchy
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Beautiful place, punchy, and the mountain air seems to come down with the water and fill you full of strength.

    !Tention George Manville Fenn
  • Bagsby was a punchy man, with a bald head, and a nose which betokened his habitual addiction to the fiery grape of Portugal.

  • The wind would almost tear the roof off, and punchy howled—he thought he was dying, too, maybe.

    The Brass Bound Box Evelyn Raymond
  • I get another cuffing around but I am too punchy already to feel anything.

    Operation Earthworm Joe Archibald
British Dictionary definitions for punchy


adjective punchier, punchiest
an informal word for punch-drunk
(informal) incisive or forceful: a punchy article
Derived Forms
punchily, adverb
punchiness, noun
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 punchy

"nervously anxious; irritable from fatigue," 1937, from punch (v.) + -y (2). Perhaps originally a shortening of punch-drunk. Related: Punchily; punchiness.


"full of vigor," 1926, from punch (n.3) + -y (2). Related: Punchily; punchiness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for punchy



  1. Exhibiting brain damage from repeated blows to the head; punch-drunk: Sailor Bob, a punchy stumble-bum (1937+)
  2. Feeling somewhat confused and battered, as if punch-drunk: Even if she's a little punchy and hyper from doing a dozen interviews that day (1940s+)
  3. Having force, impact, energy, etc; potent; jazzy, zingy: The English language may someday be as colorful and punchy as it was in Elizabethan times (1926+)
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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