1. of or relating to the ancient Carthaginians.
  2. treacherous; perfidious: originally applied by the Romans to the Carthaginians.
  1. the language of ancient Carthage, a form of late Phoenician.

Origin of Punic

< Latin Pūnicus, earlier Poenicus Carthaginian, equivalent to Poen(us) a Phoenician, a Carthaginian (akin to Greek Phoînix a Phoenician) + -icus -ic
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for punic

Contemporary Examples of punic

  • Foreign-policy experts rush to compare Libya to Bosnia, the Punic Wars, Iraq, Kosovo, Thermopylae, and so forth.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Horrible Libya Hypocrisies

    Leslie H. Gelb

    March 21, 2011

Historical Examples of punic

British Dictionary definitions for punic


  1. of or relating to ancient Carthage or the Carthaginians
  2. characteristic of the treachery of the Carthaginians
  1. the language of the ancient Carthaginians; a late form of Phoenician

Word Origin for Punic

C15: from Latin Pūnicus, variant of Poenicus Carthaginian, from Greek Phoinix
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 punic



"pertaining to Carthage," 1530s, from Latin Punicus, earlier Poenicus "Carthaginian," originally "Phoenician" (adj.), Carthage having been founded as a Phoenician colony, from Poenus (n.), from Greek Phoinix "Phoenician" (see Phoenician). Carthaginians were proverbial among the Romans as treacherous and perfidious. Punic Wars were three wars between the Romans and the Carthaginians fought 264-146 B.C.E. Related: Punical (early 15c.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper