\ˈpən-chē \
punchier; punchiest

Definition of punchy 

1a : having punch : forceful, spirited The collection is strong on punchy, memorable music and weak on lyrics.People Weekly He leans abruptly forward and speaks with the punchy emphasis of an inveterate politician.— Bill Bryson

b : vivid, vibrant These punchy colors glide on and blend easily into mere hints of color.Elle

c : zesty It is an elegant dish, although the sauce seems overly polite now. I remember it when the fresh coriander was an intense and punchy flavor.— Caroline Bates

2 : dazed, punch-drunk … I arrived in Paris after a thirteen-hour flight, unwashed, unshaved, punchy from jet lag, discombobulated …— David Berlinski

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Examples of punchy in a Sentence

shrimp in a punchy sauce She was punchy with fatigue.

Recent Examples on the Web

Whereas Trump’s take is paranoid and dark, Wilson’s 1969 rendition, perhaps the song’s most famous version before Trump’s, is a bluesy soul number set over a punchy horn section. Eli Rosenberg, Washington Post, "‘The Snake’: How Trump appropriated a radical black singer’s lyrics for immigration fearmongering," 24 Feb. 2018 Its turbocharged 2-liter 4-cylinder with 228 horsepower is punchy enough to coax a smile out of even the most dour of souls. Tom Voelk, New York Times, "26 Vehicles Played in the Mud. Here’s the Dirt.," 12 July 2018 And unlike my grain bowl or other meal-planning attempts, I’m not bored by it yet, because the flavors have remained punchy and none of the ingredients have gotten sad and wilted. Madeleine Aggeler, The Cut, "Chrissy Teigen and I Would like You to Try This Sheet-Pan Meal," 29 June 2018 If there weren’t the V-8 for comparison, the V-6 would feel punchy enough, and in sport plus mode the rear-drive waggles under that combined 350 pound-feet of torque. Robert Duffer, chicagotribune.com, "2018 Lexus LC500h review: How to neuter a sports car into a hybrid," 27 Mar. 2018 Despite being a punchy lyricist, Fab's penchant for ladies tracks continues to be hallmark of his. Carl Lamarre, Billboard, "Fabolous & Ty Dolla $ign Team Up For Summer Banger 'Ooh Yea': Listen," 13 July 2018 More functional is Crosley’s Wall Phone ($70, crosleyradio.com), which can be mounted in a kitchen as a punchy visual statement—and a convenient way to chat while cooking while your smartphone is charging in the other room. Paul Schrodt, WSJ, "Why the Landline Phone Will Never Go Away," 5 July 2018 Part of this balancing act was avoiding punchy colors and opting instead for a palette of soft earth tones inspired by lake rocks that Carson brought back from her home state of Michigan and stacked into nesting piles. Danielle Fox, ELLE Decor, "A Feminine—And Feminist—Apartment in Hell’s Kitchen Goes Big," 21 May 2018 Regularly experimenting with a bold red lip or metallic punchy eyeshadow, the actress is well versed in the art of matching beauty and sartorial statements—whether walking the red carpet or pounding the Manhattan streets. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "How Priyanka Chopra Turned Royal Wedding Day Makeup on Its Head," 19 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'punchy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of punchy

1907, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Dictionary Entries near punchy


punch up






Statistics for punchy

Last Updated

14 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for punchy

The first known use of punchy was in 1907

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English Language Learners Definition of punchy

: very exciting or lively

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Comments on punchy

What made you want to look up punchy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to reject or criticize sharply

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