Meaning of PUNCH in English

I. punch 1 S3 /pʌntʃ/ BrE AmE verb [transitive]

[ Date: 1300-1400 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: poinçonner 'to make a hole in' , from poinçon 'tool for making holes' ]

1 . HIT to hit someone or something hard with your ↑ fist (=closed hand) :

He punched me and knocked my teeth out.

punch somebody on/in something

He punched Jack in the face.

2 . MAKE HOLES to make a hole in something, using a metal tool or other sharp object:

The guard punched my ticket and I got on.

These bullets can punch a hole through 20 mm steel plate.

3 . PUSH BUTTONS to push a button or key on a machine:

Just punch the button to select a track.

4 . punch holes in sb’s argument/idea/plans etc to criticize someone’s views, idea, plans etc by showing why they are wrong

5 . punch the air to make a movement like a punch towards the sky, to show that you are very pleased:

He punched the air in triumph.

6 . punch sb’s lights out informal to hit someone hard in the face

7 . punch the clock American English informal to record the time that you start or finish work by putting a card into a special machine

8 . CATTLE American English old-fashioned to move cattle from one place to another

9 . punch above your weight informal if businesses, organizations, teams etc punch above their weight, they are successful in an activity or task which usually needs more money, power, skill etc than they seem to have – used especially in newspapers

punch in phrasal verb

1 . American English to record the time that you arrive at work, by putting a card into a special machine SYN clock in British English

2 . punch something ↔ in to put information into a computer by pressing buttons or keys

punch out phrasal verb American English

1 . to record the time that you leave work, by putting a card into a special machine SYN clock out British English

2 . punch somebody out to hit someone so hard that they become unconscious

• • •


■ to hit someone

▪ hit to hit someone quickly and hard with your hand, a stick etc:

He hit him hard in the stomach.


I don’t like to see people hitting a dog.

▪ beat to hit someone deliberately many times, especially very hard:

The girl had been beaten to death.


He was beating the donkey with a stick.

▪ strike written to hit someone with your hand or a weapon. Strike is more formal than hit and is mainly used in written English:

Her husband struck her twice across the face.


Police say that the man had been struck on the head.

▪ punch to hit someone hard with your closed hand, especially in a fight:

I punched him on the nose.


She was screaming and punching him with her fists.

▪ thump /θʌmp/ informal to punch someone very hard:

Sometimes I just want to thump him.

▪ beat somebody up to hurt someone badly in a violent attack, by hitting them many times:

If I tell the police, they'll beat me up.


He had been beaten up and tortured with lighted cigarettes.

▪ slap to hit someone with your open hand, especially because you are angry with them:

They had a big row and she ended up slapping him.

▪ spank ( also smack especially British English ) to hit someone, especially a child, with your open hand in order to punish them:

Should a parent ever smack a child?


I don’t agree with smacking.


In those days, children were spanked if they behaved badly.

II. punch 2 BrE AmE noun

[ Sense 1-2, 5-7: Date: 1500-1600 ; Origin: ⇨ ↑ punch 1 ]

[ Sense 3: Date: 1600-1700 ; Origin: Perhaps from Hindi pãc 'five' ; because there are five things that go into it. ]

[ Sense 4: Date: 1500-1600 ; Origin: Probably from puncheon ; ⇨ ↑ pounce ]

[ Sense 8: Date: 1800-1900 ; Origin: Punch character in children's puppet shows, from Punchinello , probably from Italian dialect polecenella 'little chicken' ]

1 . [countable] a quick strong hit made with your ↑ fist (=closed hand)

punch in/on

a punch in the kidneys

I managed to land a punch on his chin.

The two men started throwing punches (=trying to hit each other) .

2 . [singular, uncountable] a strong effective way of expressing things that makes people interested:

Thirty years after it was written, Orton’s ‘Entertaining Mr Sloane’ still packs a punch.

3 . [uncountable and countable] a drink made from fruit juice, sugar, water, and usually some alcohol:

a glass of hot punch

4 .

[countable] a metal tool for cutting holes or for pushing something into a small hole

5 . a one-two punch two bad events that happen close together:

A meteorite collided with Earth at the same time, delivering a one-two punch to the magnetic field.

6 . not pull any/your punches to express disapproval or criticism clearly, without trying to hide anything:

The inquiry report doesn’t pull any punches in apportioning blame.

7 . beat somebody/something to the punch informal to do or get something before anyone else does:

Hitachi has beaten its competitors to the punch with its new palmtop.

8 . as pleased as punch old-fashioned very happy:

He’s as pleased as punch about the baby.

⇨ pack a (hard) punch at ↑ pack 1 (8)

• • •


■ verbs

▪ throw a punch (=try to hit someone)

Rob was so angry that he turned round and threw a punch at the man.

▪ land a punch (=manage to hit someone)

Then I began to land some good punches.

▪ give somebody a punch

He gave me a punch on the nose.

▪ deliver a punch formal (=hit someone)

Who actually delivered the punch that killed the man?

▪ take a punch (=be hit, or deal well with being hit)

I took a lot of punches but I gave a lot too.


▪ a hard/powerful punch

My stomach took a couple of hard punches.

▪ a good punch

Tyson landed one good punch but it wasn’t enough.

▪ a knockout punch (=a blow that knocks someone down so that they cannot get up again)

In the fourth round, Lewis produced a knockout punch that ended the fight.

• • •


■ to make a hole in something

▪ make a hole in something to cause a hole to appear in something:

Make a hole in the bottom of the can using a hammer and nail.

▪ pierce to make a small hole in or through something, using a pointed object:

The dog's teeth had pierced her skin.


Shelley wanted to have her ears pierced (=for earrings) .

▪ prick to make a very small hole in the surface of something, using a pointed object:

Prick the potatoes before baking them.


My finger was bleeding where the needle had pricked it.

▪ punch to make a hole through paper or flat material using a metal tool or other sharp object:

I bought one of those things for punching holes in paper.


You have to get your ticket punched before you get on the train.

▪ puncture to make a small hole in something, especially something where skin or a wall surrounds a softer or hollow inside part:

The bullet had punctured his lung.

▪ perforate formal to make a hole or holes in something:

Fragments of the bullet had perforated his intestines.

▪ drill to make a hole using a special tool, often one which turns round and round very quickly:

The dentist started drilling a hole in my tooth.


They won a contract to drill for oil in the area.

▪ bore to make a deep round hole through a rock, into the ground etc:

They had to bore through solid rock.


The men were boring a hole for the tunnel.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.