[ puhn-chuh-nel-oh ]
See synonyms for Punchinello on Thesaurus.com
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 pulluspullet

Words Nearby Punchinello

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use Punchinello in a sentence

  • Punch and Punchinello, or Pierre and Pierrot are the father and the son of the ancient holy-days or holidays.

    Archaic England | Harold Bayley
  • Here and there a small group gazed at the performances of Punchinello; a few equipages drove along its centre way.

  • It was as though a parrot or a Punchinello spoke, and sentences which were unexpected could not be understood.

  • But any though he is, he is as capable of devotion to his Columbine as Punchinello, and remains faithfully mated year after year.

    Bird Neighbors | Neltje Blanchan
  • She had been angry with Glyde, but now could think of him as "poor Struan," Punchinello in a rustic comedy.

    Rest Harrow | Maurice Hewlett

British Dictionary definitions for Punchinello


/ (ˌpʌntʃɪˈnɛləʊ) /

nounplural -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

Origin of Punchinello

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