punch

1
[ puhnch ]
See synonyms for punch on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. a thrusting blow, especially with the fist.

  2. forcefulness, effectiveness, or pungency in content or appeal; vigor; zest: This ad copy you wrote isn't bad, but it needs more punch.

verb (used with object)
  1. to give a sharp thrust or blow to, especially with the fist.

  2. Western U.S. and Western Canada. to drive (cattle).

  1. to poke or prod, as with a stick.

  2. Informal. to deliver (lines in a play, a musical passage, or the like) with vigor.

  3. to strike or hit in operating: She punched the elevator button and waited for the doors to open.

  4. to put into operation with or as if with a blow: I punched the time clock at that factory every morning and evening for 35 years.

  5. 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)
  1. to give a sharp blow to a person or thing, as with the fist: The boxer punches well.

Verb Phrases
  1. punch away, Informal. to keep trying or working, especially in difficult or discouraging circumstances; persevere: How long have you been punching away at the same old job?

  2. punch in,

    • to record one's time of arrival at work by punching a time clock.

    • to keyboard (information) into a computer: I was punching in the inventory figures when the system crashed.

  1. punch out,

    • to record one's time of departure from work by punching a time clock.

    • Slang. to beat up or knock out with the fists.

    • to extract (information) from a computer by the use of a keyboard: This function lets you quickly punch out a report when sales audit time comes along.

    • to bail out; eject from an aircraft.

  2. punch up,

    • to call up (information) on a computer by the use of a keyboard: She punched up a list of hotel reservations.

    • Informal. to enliven, as with fresh ideas or additional material: You'd better punch up that speech with a few jokes.

Idioms about punch

  1. pull punches,

    • to lessen deliberately the force of one's blows.

    • 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.

  2. 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 punch

1
First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English verb pouncen, pounson, punchen “to emboss (metal), pierce, prick,” from Old French poinçoner, poinssonner, ponchonner “to emboss”; see also puncheon2

Other words for punch

Other words from punch

  • puncher, noun

Other definitions for punch (2 of 4)

punch2
[ puhnch ]

noun
  1. a tool or machine for perforating or stamping materials, driving nails, etc.

  2. the solid upper die of a punch press, used with a hollow die to blank out shaped pieces of sheet metal or the like.

verb (used with object)
  1. to cut, stamp, pierce, perforate, form, or drive with a tool or machine that punches.

verb (used without object)
  1. to work at or on something with or as if with a mechanical punch.

Origin of punch

2
First recorded in 1495–1505; short for puncheon2, reinforced by punch1

Other words from punch

  • punch·a·ble, adjective

Other definitions for punch (3 of 4)

punch3
[ puhnch ]

noun
  1. a beverage consisting of wine or spirits mixed with fruit juice, soda, water, milk, or the like, and flavored with sugar, spices, etc.

  2. a beverage of two or more fruit juices, sugar, and water, sometimes carbonated.

Origin of punch

3
First recorded in 1625–35; of uncertain origin; traditionally derived from Hindi panch “five” (from the number of ingredients), from Sanskrit panca; cf. five

Other definitions for Punch (4 of 4)

Punch
[ puhnch ]

noun
  1. the chief male character in a Punch-and-Judy show.

Origin of Punch

4
Short for Punchinello

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use punch in a sentence

  • The young puncher had been reluctant to come, and he was equally reluctant to go.

    The Range Boss | Charles Alden Seltzer
  • Reckon you remember thet cow-puncher who came up with Roy an' Auchincloss after the girls—last fall?

  • Five thousand for a fully qualified professore, and twelve thousand for a ticket puncher.

    Sea and Sardinia | D. H. Lawrence
  • But the young puncher sneered a malignant denial and rode away to his camp.

    The Range Boss | Charles Alden Seltzer
  • "Ain't another train either way till to-morrow morning," said the cow-puncher.

    Pluck on the Long Trail | Edwin L. Sabin

British Dictionary definitions for punch (1 of 4)

punch1

/ (pʌntʃ) /


verb
  1. to strike blows (at), esp with a clenched fist

  2. (tr) Western US to herd or drive (cattle), esp for a living

  1. (tr) to poke or prod with a stick or similar object

  2. punch above one's weight to do something that is considered to be beyond one's ability

noun
  1. a blow with the fist

  2. informal telling force, point, or vigour: his arguments lacked punch

  1. pull one's punches See pull (def. 26)

Origin of punch

1
C15: perhaps a variant of pounce ²

Derived forms of punch

  • puncher, noun

British Dictionary definitions for punch (2 of 4)

punch2

/ (pʌntʃ) /


noun
  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

  1. a tool or machine used for stamping a design on something or shaping it by impact

  2. the solid die of a punching machine for cutting, stamping, or shaping material

  3. computing a device, such as a card punch or tape punch, used for making holes in a card or paper tape

verb
  1. (tr) to pierce, cut, stamp, shape, or drive with a punch

Origin of punch

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

British Dictionary definitions for punch (3 of 4)

punch3

/ (pʌntʃ) /


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

Origin of punch

3
C17: perhaps from Hindi pānch, from Sanskrit pañca five; the beverage originally included five ingredients

British Dictionary definitions for Punch (4 of 4)

Punch

/ (pʌntʃ) /


noun
  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

Other Idioms and Phrases with punch

punch

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.