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puny

play
adjective, pu·ny \ˈpyü-nē\

Simple Definition of puny

  • : small and weak

  • : not very large, impressive, or effective

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of puny

punierpuniest

  1. :  slight or inferior in power, size, or importance :  weak

punily play \ˈpyü-nə-lē\ adverb
puniness play \ˈpyü-nē-nəs\ noun

Examples of puny in a sentence

  1. I wouldn't mess with him—he makes bodybuilders look puny in comparison.

  2. We laughed at their puny attempt to trick us.



Origin of puny

Anglo-French puisné younger, weakly, literally, born afterward, from puis afterward + born


First Known Use: 1593

Rhymes with puny


PUNY Defined for Kids

puny

play
adjective pu·ny \ˈpyü-nē\

Definition of puny for Students

punierpuniest

  1. 1 :  small and weak in size or power

  2. 2 :  not very impressive or effective <My boss gave me a puny raise.>



History for puny

In medieval French puisné, literally, “born afterward,” was used to mean “younger” when talking about two people. Borrowed into English, puisne and the phonetic spelling puny came to be used of anyone in a position of less importance than another. By the time of the playwright William Shakespeare puny no longer suggested relative rank, but had come to mean “weak” or “feeble”—a meaning the word retains today.



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