- of less than normal size and strength; weak.
- unimportant; insignificant; petty or minor: a puny excuse.
- Obsolete. puisne.
Origin of puny
Examples from the Web for puny
In the end, Shumlin led by a puny 2,434 votes, less than the 50 percent margin needed for victory under Vermont law.What the Hell Happened in Vermont?!
November 13, 2014
Complete and utter accident of fate, the puny matter of his voter enrollment.Republicans Are Racists? No, It’s Just All a Big Coincidence
April 25, 2014
But his standing in opinion polls is puny, and he has been targeted by Sarah Palin.Why Obama's Still Untouchable in 2012
Jack W. Germond
June 9, 2011
Mighty NATO rains down bombs and bullets on Gaddafi's puny forces, but can't score a knockout.How Libya Saps America's Power
Leslie H. Gelb
April 17, 2011
I am ashamed to kill such a puny little dwarf as you seem to be.Tanglewood Tales
Pardon me for inserting these puny details in what I have to say.The Old Game
Samuel G. Blythe
Even we puny creatures can divine something of their birth and death.Mountain Meditations
Beauchene asked her as he looked at the pale, puny child on her arm.Fruitfulness
What could man's law—his proud but puny morality—do to injure her?The Woman Thou Gavest Me
- having a small physique or weakly constitution
- paltry; insignificant
Word Origin and History for puny
1570s, "inferior in rank" (1540s as a noun, "junior pupil, freshman"), from Middle French puisné (Modern French puîné), from Old French puisne "born later, younger, youngest" (12c., contrasted with aisné "first-born"), from puis nez, from puis "afterward" (from Vulgar Latin *postius, from Latin postea "after this, hereafter," from post "after," see post-, + ea "there") + Old French né "born," from Latin natus, past participle of nasci "be born" (Old Latin gnasci; see genus). Sense of "small, weak, insignificant" first recorded 1590s. Cf. puisne. Related: Puniness.