Why was clemency trending last week?
late 14c., "to strike out with the foot" (earliest in biblical phrase now usually rendered as kick against the pricks), of uncertain origin, perhaps from Old Norse kikna "bend backwards, sink at the knees." "The doubts OED has about the Scandinavian origin of kick are probably unfounded" [Liberman]. Related: Kicked; kicking.
Figurative sense of "complain, protest, rebel against" (late 14c.) probably is from the Bible verse. Slang sense of "die" is attested from 1725 (kick the wind was slang for "be hanged," 1590s; see also bucket). Meaning "to end one's drug habit" is from 1936. Kick in "contribute" is from 1908; kick out "expel" is from 1690s. To kick oneself in self-reproach is from 1891. The children's game of kick the can is attested from 1891.
1520s, from kick (v.). Meaning "recoil (of a gun) when fired" is from 1826. Meaning "surge or fit of pleasure" (often as kicks) is from 1941; originally literally, "stimulation from liquor or drugs" (1844). The kick "the fashion" is c.1700.
"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]
To shoot: He potted a woodchuck (1860+)Related Terms
[all senses fr cooking pot, as something containing a pot-luck mess of food, something sooty and unattractive, something fat-looking, something to be filled by hitting the hunt's prey, etc]
[pocket sense fr late 17thcentury kicks, ''breeches'']