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"kick," 1845; see punt (v.).
"flat-bottomed river boat," late Old English punt, perhaps an ancient survival of British Latin ponto "flat-bottomed boat" (see OED), a kind of Gallic transport (Caesar), also "floating bridge" (Gellius), from Latin pontem (nominative pons) "bridge" (see pontoon). Or from or influenced by Old French cognate pont "large, flat boat."
"to kick a ball dropped from the hands before it hits the ground," 1845, first in a Rugby list of football rules, perhaps from dialectal punt "to push, strike," alteration of Midlands dialect bunt "to push, butt with the head," of unknown origin, perhaps echoic. Student slang meaning "give up, drop a course so as not to fail," 1970s, is because a U.S. football team punts when it cannot advance the ball. Related: Punted; punting.
To gamble; bet
[1706+; fr French ponte, Spanish punta, ''point,'' used for playing against the banker in faro and other games]
[1970s+ College students; fr the kick out of danger in football, fr mid1800s Rugby football, ''kick the ball before it hits the ground,'' of unknown origin; perhaps echoic]
(From the punch line of an old joke referring to American football: "Drop back 15 yards and punt!") 1. To give up, typically without any intention of retrying. "Let's punt the movie tonight." "I was going to hack all night to get this feature in, but I decided to punt" may mean that you've decided not to stay up all night, and may also mean you're not ever even going to put in the feature.
2. More specifically, to give up on figuring out what the Right Thing is and resort to an inefficient hack.
3. A design decision to defer solving a problem, typically because one cannot define what is desirable sufficiently well to frame an algorithmic solution. "No way to know what the right form to dump the graph in is - we'll punt that for now."
4. To hand a tricky implementation problem off to some other section of the design. "It's too hard to get the compiler to do that; let's punt to the run-time system."