adjective, punch·i·er, punch·i·est. Informal.

being or appearing vigorously effective; forceful.

Origin of punchy

First recorded in 1935–40; punch1 + -y1
Related formspunch·i·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for punchy

confused, dazed, groggy

Examples from the Web for punchy

Contemporary Examples of punchy

  • He had an answer ready for everything Lehrer and Obama threw at him, and his answers were punchy and memorable.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Professor and the Consultant

    Megan McArdle

    October 4, 2012

Historical Examples of punchy

  • Beautiful place, Punchy, and the mountain air seems to come down with the water and fill you full of strength.


    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 or punchiest

an informal word for punch-drunk
informal incisive or forcefula punchy article
Derived Formspunchily, adverbpunchiness, 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

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