Posted by: Jack Henry | November 29, 2022

Editor’s Corner: Punches

Just about a year ago, I shared a list of words with you that were about left and right handedness, ambidexterity, and the prefixes related to those words. One of you sent me some additional words related to hands—more specifically fists and fighting—which I am finally getting around to. I hope you enjoy these pointy and punchy words, their definitions, and their etymologies. The definitions are from Merriam-Webster; the etymologies are from the Online Etymology Dictionary.

John R., thank you for the list!

Word Definition Etymology
expunge 1a: to strike out, obliterate, or mark for deletion (as a word, line, or sentence)

b: to obliterate (a material record or trace) by any means

c: drop, exclude, discard, omit

"to mark or blot out as with a pen, erase (words), obliterate," c. 1600, from Latin expungere "prick out, blot out, mark (a name on a list) for deletion" by pricking dots above or below it,
impugn 1 obsolete

a: to assail physically: fight

b: oppose, resist

2: to assail by words or arguments: call into question: make insinuations against

"to fight against, assault, attack," from assimilated form of in- "into, in, on, upon" (from PIE root *en "in") + pugnare "to fight"
poignant 1: painfully sharp with regard to the feelings: piercing, keen

2: very moving: deeply affecting

late 14c., poinaunt, "painful to physical or mental feeling" (of sauce, spice, wine as well as things that affect the feelings), from Old French poignant "sharp, pointed" (13c.), present participle of poindre "to prick, sting," from Latin pungere "to prick, pierce, sting," figuratively, "to vex, grieve, trouble, afflict"
pugnacious having a quarrelsome or belligerent nature: thriving on challenge: aggressive, truculent "disposed to fight, quarrelsome," 1640s, a back-formation from pugnacity or else from Latin pugnacis, genitive of pugnax "combative, fond of fighting," from pugnare "to fight," especially with the fists, "contend against," from pugnus "a fist"
punch to prod with a stick or other blunt object : poke

b: to act as herdsman of:drive

c: to push (material) through a foundation piece with a needle

2a: to strike with a hard and usually quick forward thrust especially with the fist

"to thrust, push; jostle;" also, "to prod, drive (cattle, etc.) by poking and prodding," late 14c., from Old French ponchonner "to punch, prick, stamp," from ponchon "pointed tool, piercing weapon" (see punch (n.1)).

Meaning "to pierce, make a hole or holes in with a punch, emboss with a tool" is from early 15c.; meaning "to stab, puncture" is from mid-15c. Related: Punched; punching.

Specialized sense "to hit with the fist, give a blow, beat with blows of the fist" is recorded by 1520s. Compare Latin pugnare "to fight with the fists," from a root meaning "to pierce, sting."

punctual 1a: of or relating to a point

b: of or relating to punctuation

2: having the nature or a property of a point

a: belonging to a definite point of time

b: having fixity

c. 1400, "having a sharp point; producing punctures," senses now rare or obsolete, from Medieval Latin punctualis, from Latin punctus "a pricking" (from nasalized form of PIE root *peuk- "to prick").
punctuate 1: to mark or divide (written or printed matter) with punctuation marks to clarify the meaning and separate structural units

2: to break into or interrupt at intervals

in reference to writing and printing, "to indicate pauses or stops by conventional signs" called points or marks of punctuation, 1818, probably a back-formation from punctuation. Hence, figuratively, "interrupt at intervals" (1833); "to emphasize by some significant or forceful action" (1883). Related: Punctuated; punctuating. An earlier, rare or isolated use, of the word in the sense of "to point out" is attested from 1630s, from Medieval Latin punctuatus, past participle of punctuare, from Latin punctus.

Mmm. I think I’d rather have this punch:

The original drink in the Indian subcontinent was named paantsch. The word punch may be a loanword from Hindi पाँच (pāñć), meaning "five", as the drink was frequently made with five ingredients: alcohol, sugar, juice from either a lime or a lemon, water, and spices.

Kara Church | Technical Editor, Advisory | Technical Publications

Pronouns: she/her | Call via Teams |

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