1 [puhnch]
a thrusting blow, especially with the fist.
forcefulness, effectiveness, or pungency in content or appeal; power; zest: a letter to voters that needs more punch.
verb (used with object)
to give a sharp thrust or blow to, especially with the fist.
Western U.S. and Western Canada. to drive (cattle).
to poke or prod, as with a stick.
Informal. to deliver (lines in a play, a musical passage, or the like) with vigor.
to strike or hit in operating: to punch the typewriter keys.
to put into operation with or as if with a blow: to punch a time clock.
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)
to give a sharp blow to a person or thing, as with the fist: The boxer punches well.
Verb phrases
punch away, Informal. to keep trying or working, especially in difficult or discouraging circumstances; persevere: punching away at the same old job.
punch in,
to record one's time of arrival at work by punching a time clock.
to keyboard (information) into a computer: to punch in the inventory figures.
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: to punch out data on last week's sales.
to bail out; eject from an aircraft.
punch up,
to call up (information) on a computer by the use of a keyboard: to punch 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.
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.
roll with the punches, Informal. to cope with and survive adversity: In the business world you quickly learn to roll with the punches.

1350–1400; Middle English punchen (v.); apparently variant of pounce1

puncher, noun

3. strike, hit; drub, pummel.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
punch1 (pʌntʃ)
1.  to strike blows (at), esp with a clenched fist
2.  (Western US) (tr) to herd or drive (cattle), esp for a living
3.  (tr) to poke or prod with a stick or similar object
4.  punch above one's weight to do something that is considered to be beyond one's ability
5.  a blow with the fist
6.  informal telling force, point, or vigour: his arguments lacked punch
7.  pull one's punches See pull
[C15: perhaps a variant of pounce²]

punch2 (pʌntʃ)
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
3.  a tool or machine used for stamping a design on something or shaping it by impact
4.  the solid die of a punching machine for cutting, stamping, or shaping material
5.  computing a device, such as a card punch or tape punch, used for making holes in a card or paper tape
6.  See centre punch
7.  (tr) to pierce, cut, stamp, shape, or drive with a punch
[C14: shortened from puncheon, from Old French ponçon; see puncheon²]

punch3 (pʌntʃ)
any mixed drink containing fruit juice and, usually, alcoholic liquor, generally hot and spiced
[C17: perhaps from Hindi pānch, from Sanskrit pañca five; the beverage originally included five ingredients]

Punch (pʌntʃ)
the main character in the traditional children's puppet show Punch and Judy

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"to drive (cattle, etc.) by poking and prodding," c.1382, from O.Fr. ponchonner "to punch, prick, stamp," from ponchon "pointed tool, piercing weapon" (see punch (n.1)). Meaning "to stab, puncture" is from c.1440. Specific meaning of "to hit with the fist" first recorded 1530,
probably influenced by punish; noun sense of "a blow with the fist" is recorded by 1580. Noun in the figurative sense of "forceful, vigorous quality" is recorded from 1911. To beat (someone) to the punch is from 1923, a metaphor from boxing. Punch line is from 1921; punch-drunk is from 1915. To punch a ticket, etc., is c.1440, probably from a shortening of puncheon "pointed tool," from O.Fr. ponchon.

"pointed tool," c.1460, short for puncheon (1367), from O.Fr. ponchon "pointed tool, piercing weapon," from V.L. *punctionem (nom. punctio) "pointed tool," from L. punctus, pp. of pungere "to prick" (see pungent). Meaning "machine for pressing or stamping a die" is from 1628.

"mixed drink," 1632, traditionally said to derive from Hindi panch "five," in allusion to the number of original ingredients (spirits, water, lemon juice, sugar, spice), from Skt. panchan-s.

the puppet show star, 1709, shortening of Punchinello (1666), from It. (Neapolitan) Pollecinella, dim. of pollecena "turkey pullet," probably in allusion to his big nose. The phrase pleased as punch apparently refers to his unfailing triumph over enemies. The comic weekly of this name was published in
London from 1841.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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