See more synonyms for Punch on Thesaurus.com
  1. pleased as Punch, highly pleased; delighted: They were pleased as Punch at having been asked to come along.

Origin of Punch

short for punchinello
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for pleased as punch


  1. to strike blows (at), esp with a clenched fist
  2. (tr) Western US to herd or drive (cattle), esp for a living
  3. (tr) to poke or prod with a stick or similar object
  4. punch above one's weight to do something that is considered to be beyond one's ability
  1. a blow with the fist
  2. informal telling force, point, or vigourhis arguments lacked punch
  3. pull one's punches See pull (def. 26)
Derived Formspuncher, noun

Word Origin for punch

C15: perhaps a variant of pounce ²


  1. a tool or machine for piercing holes in a material
  2. any of various tools used for knocking a bolt, rivet, etc, out of a hole
  3. a tool or machine used for stamping a design on something or shaping it by impact
  4. the solid die of a punching machine for cutting, stamping, or shaping material
  5. computing a device, such as a card punch or tape punch, used for making holes in a card or paper tape
  6. See centre punch
  1. (tr) to pierce, cut, stamp, shape, or drive with a punch

Word Origin for punch

C14: shortened from puncheon, from Old French ponçon; see puncheon ²


  1. any mixed drink containing fruit juice and, usually, alcoholic liquor, generally hot and spiced

Word Origin for punch

C17: perhaps from Hindi pānch, from Sanskrit pañca five; the beverage originally included five ingredients


  1. 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

Word Origin and History for pleased as punch



"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

Idioms and Phrases with pleased as punch

pleased as Punch

Delighted, as in We were pleased as Punch when they asked us to be god-parents. This term alludes to the character Punch in Punch and Judy shows, who is always very happy when his evil deeds succeed. [Mid-1800s]


In addition to the idioms beginning with punch

  • punch in
  • punch out

also see:

  • beat to it (the punch)
  • can't punch one's way out of a paper bag
  • pack a punch
  • pleased as punch
  • pull no punches
  • roll with the punches
  • sucker punch
  • throw a punch
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.