punch

1 of 4

noun (1)

1
a
: a tool usually in the form of a short rod of steel that is variously shaped at one end for different operations (such as forming, perforating, embossing, or cutting)
b
: a short tapering steel rod for driving the heads of nails below a surface
c
: a steel die faced with a letter in relief that is forced into a softer metal to form an intaglio matrix from which foundry type is cast
d
: a device or machine for cutting holes or notches (as in paper or cardboard)
e
: a medical instrument used especially to perforate tissue or remove a small, round segment of tissue (such as skin)
a biopsy punch
2
: a hole or notch from a perforating operation

punch

2 of 4

verb

punched; punching; punches

transitive verb

1
a
: prod, poke
b
: drive, herd
punching cattle
2
a
: to strike with a forward thrust especially of the fist
b
: to drive or push forcibly by or as if by a punch
c
: to hit (a ball) with less than a full swing
3
: to emboss, cut, perforate, or make with or as if with a punch
4
a
: to push down so as to produce a desired result
punch buttons on a jukebox
b
: to hit or press down the operating mechanism of
punch a typewriter
c
: to insert a time card into (a time clock)
d
: to produce by or as if by punching keys
punch out a tune on the piano
e
: to enter (something, such as data) by punching keys
5
: to give emphasis to

intransitive verb

1
: to perform the action of punching something
2
: to move or push forward especially by a sudden forceful effort
punched into enemy territory
puncher noun

punch

3 of 4

noun (2)

1
: the action of punching
2
: a quick blow with or as if with the fist
3
: effective energy or forcefulness
a story that packs a punch
political punch
punchless adjective

punch

4 of 4

noun (3)

: a hot or cold drink that is usually a combination of hard liquor, wine, or beer and nonalcoholic beverages
also : a drink that is a mixture of nonalcoholic beverages
Phrases
to the punch
: to the first blow or to decisive action
usually used with beat

Examples of punch in a Sentence

Verb He punched me in the face. She punched him on the chin. He quickly punched the buttons on his telephone. She punched an opening through the dough with her finger. The tool punches holes in paper.
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
Police reported that the actor allegedly punched a nurse in the head and shoved another in the face before pushing the phlebotomist into a table. Esther Kang, Peoplemag, 16 Feb. 2024 Growing pains included a fractured hand caused by punching a locker in frustration after being dismissed first ball in a T20 in the Caribbean. Tim Ellis, Forbes, 14 Feb. 2024 Two corrections officers covered up the use of excessive force when one punched an inmate in the face and broke his jaw, federal officials said. Olivia Lloyd, Charlotte Observer, 14 Feb. 2024 In the semifinals, Tiburones rallied from an early 2-0 deficit to beat Curacao 6-2 on Thursday to punch its ticket to the championship game against the Dominican Republic’s Tigre del Licey. Jordan McPherson, Miami Herald, 10 Feb. 2024 The lawsuit says that Binford in December 2019 was involved in an argument with an Arlington Hills visitor that escalated into a physical altercation and Binford punched the visitor several times. Nick Ferraro, Twin Cities, 9 Feb. 2024 Harford Tech never looked back on that lead, emerging from a four-team field to punch its ticket to the state tournament. Sam Cohn, Baltimore Sun, 8 Feb. 2024 In the probable cause affidavit, the station reported, Aguilar is accused of allegedly punching a woman in the face several times before placing his foot on the woman’s neck following an argument. Greg Wehner, Fox News, 9 Feb. 2024 The second retaliation, during which Gudbranson tossed Cousins to the ice and began punching him, resulted in Gudbranson being ejected from the game and given a one-game suspension. Jordan McPherson, Miami Herald, 6 Feb. 2024
Noun
The medium-sized Dover Backpack packs a lot of punch and is also a favorite of Yauger. Erika Reals, Peoplemag, 21 Feb. 2024 This shopping district sandwiched between Michigan Avenue and Rush Street is small but packs a high-end punch with retailers like Prada, Hermès, Tory Burch, Armani, and Jimmy Choo. Meena Thiruvengadam, Travel + Leisure, 21 Feb. 2024 Marketers, be aware—your community's voice packs a punch! Rafael Schwarz, Forbes, 21 Feb. 2024 Most popular are the Dutch apple, with its crunchy, buttery crumb topping, and Key lime that packs a refreshing tart punch. Roger Naylor, The Arizona Republic, 18 Feb. 2024 With their lineup still lacking punch on the day pitchers and catchers were due to report for spring training, the San Francisco Giants reportedly agreed to terms late Monday night with one of the National League’s leading home run hitters from a season ago. Evan Webeck, The Mercury News, 13 Feb. 2024 Punch card participants must get 10 punches minimum to qualify for grand prize drawings, $350 or more in value. Anna Pearson, Twin Cities, 13 Feb. 2024 But energy analysts say a healthy snowpack in 2024 won’t deliver the same punch as last year. Rob Nikolewski, San Diego Union-Tribune, 9 Feb. 2024 This yellow-green, sweet lime color packs a punch without overpowering the room. Marisa Spyker, Southern Living, 8 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'punch.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun (1)

Middle English pounce, punche, probably alteration of ponson, ponchon puncheon

Verb

Middle English pouncen, punchen to emboss, pierce, probably from pounce, noun

Noun (3)

perhaps from Hindi & Urdu pā̃c five, from Sanskrit pañca; akin to Greek pente five; from its originally having five ingredients — more at five

First Known Use

Noun (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Noun (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (3)

1600, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of punch was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near punch

Cite this Entry

“Punch.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/punch. Accessed 26 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

punch

1 of 4 verb
1
2
a
: to strike with the fist
b
: to press, strike, or cause to work by or as if by punching
punch a typewriter
3
: to pierce or stamp with a punch
4
: to enter (as data) by punching keys
puncher noun

punch

2 of 4 noun
1
: a quick blow with or as if with the fist
2
: effective force
the team was well trained but lacked punch

punch

3 of 4 noun
1
a
: a tool for piercing, cutting, or stamping or for driving a nail
b
: a device or machine for cutting holes or notches (as in paper or cardboard)
2
: a hole or notch made by a punch

punch

4 of 4 noun
: a drink made of various and usually many ingredients and often flavored with wine or liquor
Etymology

Verb

Middle English pouncen, punchen "emboss, pierce," probably from pounce "punching tool, dagger, talon"

Noun

perhaps from a word in Hindi & Urdu (the official language of Pakistan) pā̃c "five"; so called from the fact that it originally had five ingredients

Medical Definition

punch

noun
: a medical instrument used especially to perforate tissue or remove a small, round segment of tissue (such as skin)
a biopsy punch

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