pu·​ny | \ ˈpyü-nē How to pronounce puny (audio) \
punier; puniest

Definition of puny

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

Other Words from puny

punily \ ˈpyü-​nə-​lē How to pronounce puny (audio) \ adverb
puniness \ ˈpyü-​nē-​nəs How to pronounce puny (audio) \ noun

Examples of puny in a Sentence

I wouldn't mess with him—he makes bodybuilders look puny in comparison. We laughed at their puny attempt to trick us.
Recent Examples on the Web When a stock has a low price/sales ratio, often the profits are puny compared to sales. John Dorfman, Forbes, 18 July 2022 Ancient electric stoves with inconsistent or puny burners. Gabe Hiatt, Washington Post, 27 June 2022 But puny versions also make their way downriver, tended by men and their families who work and sleep atop the floating logs. New York Times, 14 June 2022 Build your iron paradise around a rickety piece of metal from the 90s and your gains will be puny and minimal. John Thompson, Men's Health, 2 June 2022 Even after the first dividend increase in four years last quarter to $0.188 per share, KDP has a puny yield of 2.17%. John Dobosz, Forbes, 23 May 2022 The typical company would have gotten puny returns on super-short-term notes in the period Tesla made its roundtrip in Bitcoin. Shawn Tully, Fortune, 12 May 2022 California is home to 48 species of ticks, the puny invertebrates known for attaching to animals — sometimes humans — to feed. Andres Picon, San Francisco Chronicle, 23 Apr. 2022 Smart has been absent from the American market since 2019, the final model year for its puny EQ Fortwo. Caleb Miller, Car and Driver, 8 Apr. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of puny

circa 1577, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for puny

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

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Last Updated

29 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Puny.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/puny. Accessed 10 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for puny


pu·​ny | \ ˈpyü-nē How to pronounce puny (audio) \
punier; puniest

Kids Definition of puny

1 : small and weak in size or power
2 : not very impressive or effective My boss gave me a puny raise.

More from Merriam-Webster on puny

Nglish: Translation of puny for Spanish Speakers


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