- pulchritude (n.)
- "beauty," c. 1400, from Latin pulchritudo "beauty; excellence, attractiveness," from pulcher "beautiful," of unknown origin.
- pulchritudinous (adj.)
- 1877, American English, from pulchritude (from Latin pulchritudino "beauty," genitive pulchritudinis) + -ous.
- pule (v.)
- "cry in a thin, weak voice," 1530s, from French piauler (16c.) "to cheep, chirp," echoic (compare Italian pigolare "to cheep as a chicken"). Related: Puled; puling.
- Pulitzer (n.)
- annual awards for distinguished work in U.S. journalism, letters, music, etc., 1918, named for U.S. journalist Joseph Pulitzer (1847-1911), publisher of the "New York Globe," who established the awards in 1917 through an endowment to Columbia University.
- pull (v.)
- c. 1300, "to move forcibly by pulling, to drag," from Old English pullian "to pluck off (wool), to draw out," of unknown origin, perhaps related to Low German pulen "remove the shell or husk," Frisian pûlje "to shell, husk," Middle Dutch polen "to peel, strip," Icelandic pula "work hard."
Early 14c. as "to pick, pull off, gather" (fruit, flowers, berries, leaves, petals, etc.); mid-14c. as "to uproot, pull up" (of teeth, weeds, etc.). Sense of "to draw, attract" (to oneself) is from c. 1400; sense of "to pluck at with the fingers" is from c. 1400. Meaning "tear to pieces" is mid-15c. By late 16c. it had replaced draw in these senses. Related: Pulled; pulling.
Common in slang usages 19c.-20c.; Bartlett (1859) has to pull foot "walk fast; run;" pull it "to run." To pull up "check a course of action" is from 1808, figurative of the lifting of the reins in horse-riding. To pull (someone's) chain in figurative sense is from 1974, perhaps on the notion of a captive animal; the expression was also used for "to contact" (someone), on the notion of the chain that operates a signaling mechanism.
To pull (someone's) leg is from 1882, perhaps on notion of "playfully tripping" (compare pull the long bow "exaggerate," 1830, and pulling someone's leg also sometimes was described as a way to awaken a sleeping person in a railway compartment, ship's berth, etc.). Thornton's "American Glossary" (1912) has pull (n.) "a jest" (to have a pull at (someone)), which it identifies as "local" and illustrates with an example from the Massachusetts "Spy" of May 21, 1817, which identifies it as "a Georgian phrase." To pull (one's) punches is from 1920 in pugilism, from 1921 figuratively. To pull in "arrive" (1892) and pull out "depart" (1868) are from the railroads.
To pull (something) off "accomplish, succeed at" is originally in sporting, "to win the prize money" (1870). To pull (something) on (someone) is from 1916; to pull (something) out of one's ass is Army slang from 1970s. To pull rank is from 1919; to pull the rug from under (someone) figuratively is from 1946.
- pull (n.)
- c. 1300, "a fishing net;" mid-14c., "a turn at pulling," from pull (v.). From mid-15c. as "an act of pulling." Meaning "personal or private influence" is by 1889, American English, from earlier sense "power to pull (and not be pulled by)" a rival or competitor (1580s).
- pullet (n.)
- late 14c., "young fowl" (late 13c. as a surname), from Anglo-French pullet, Old French poulette, poilette, diminutive of poule, poille "hen," from Vulgar Latin *pulla, fem. of Latin pullus "young animal," especially "young fowl" (source also of Spanish pollo "chicken," Italian pollo "fowl;" see foal (n.)). Technically, a young hen from the time she begins to lay until the first molt.
- pulley (n.)
- late 13c., from Old French polie, pulie "pulley, windlass" (12c.) and directly from Medieval Latin poliva, puliva, probably from Medieval Greek *polidia, plural of *polidion "little pivot," diminutive of Greek polos "pivot, axis" (see pole (n.2)). As a verb from 1590s.
- Pullman (n.)
- sleeping car on a passenger train, 1867, Pullman car, in recognition of U.S. inventor George M. Pullman (1831-1897) of Chicago, who designed a railroad car with folding berths.
The Pullman Sleeping Car.--"The Western World." This splendid specimen of car architecture, being one of a number of sleeping-cars to be completed
for the Michigan Central road, by Mr. Pullman, has created a great sensation among railway circles east. ... The car itself is admitted by all who have seen it to be, in the matter of sleeping and cooking accessories, and superb finish, the ne plus ultra of perfection. Nothing before has been seen to equal, much less surpass it. ["Western Railroad Gazette," Chicago, quoted in "Appleton's Illustrated Railway and Steam Navigation Guide," New York, June, 1867]
- pullout (n.)
- also pull-out, 1825, "withdrawal," from pull (v.) + out (adv.). As "detachable section or page of a newspaper, magazine, etc." from 1952.
- pullover (adj.)
- 1871, originally of shoes, from pull (v.) + over (adv.). As a noun, from 1875 as a kind of hat cover; 1925 as a type of sweater (short for pullover sweater, 1912), so called in reference to the method of putting it on.
- pullulate (v.)
- 1610s, from Latin pullulatus, past participle of pullulare "put forth, grow, sprout, shoot up, come forth," from pullulus, diminutive of pullus "young animal" (see foal (n.)). Related: Pullulated; pullulating.
- pullulation (n.)
- 1640s, noun of action from pullulate.
- pulmonary (adj.)
- 1704, from French pulmonaire and directly from Latin pulmonarius "of the lungs," from pulmo (genitive pulmonis) "lung," cognate with Greek pleumon "lung," Old Church Slavonic plusta, Lithuanian plauciai "lungs," all from PIE *pleu- "to flow, to float, to swim" (see pluvial).
The notion perhaps is from the fact that, when thrown into a pot of water, lungs of a slaughtered animal float, while the heart, liver, etc., do not (compare Middle English lights "the lungs," literally "the light (in weight) organs"). Also see pneumo-.
- pulp (n.)
- c. 1400, "fleshy part of a fruit or plant," from Latin pulpa "animal or plant pulp; pith of wood," earlier *pelpa, perhaps from the same root as pulvis "dust," pollen "fine flour" (see pollen); extended to other similar substances by early 15c. The adjective meaning "sensational" is from pulp magazine (1931), so called from pulp in sense of "type of rough paper used in cheaply made magazines and books" (1727). As a genre name, pulp fiction attested by 1943 (pulp writer "writer of pulp fiction" was in use by 1939). The opposite adjective in reference to magazines was slick.
- pulp (v.)
- 1660s "reduce to pulp" (implied in pulping), from pulp (n.). As "to remove the pulp from," from 1791. Related: Pulped.
- pulpit (n.)
- early 14c., from Late Latin pulpitum "raised structure on which preachers stand," in classical Latin "scaffold; stage, platform for actors," of unknown origin. Also borrowed in Middle High German as pulpit (German Pult "desk"). Sense of "Christian preachers and ministers generally" is from 1560s. Pulpiteer, old contemptuous term for "professional preacher," is recorded from 1640s.
- pulpy (adj.)
- 1590s, from pulp (n.) + -y (2). Related: Pulpiness.
- pulque (n.)
- 1690s, from American Spanish pulque, of unknown origin, said to be a word from Araucanian (native language spoken in part of Chile), or else from some language of Mexico.
- pulsar (n.)
- 1968, from pulse (n.1), the form on analogy of quasar. When discovered in 1967, they were thought perhaps to be signals from alien civilizations and astronomers informally dubbed them LGM for "Little Green Men."
- pulsate (v.)
- 1741, back-formation from pulsation, from Latin pulsatus, past participle of pulsare "to beat against, strike upon" (see pulsation). Related: Pulsated; pulsating; pulsatile.
- pulsation (n.)
- early 15c., from Middle French pulsation (14c.) and directly from Latin pulsationem (nominative pulsatio) "a beating or striking," noun of action from past participle stem of pulsare "to beat, strike, push against' hammer, keep hitting," figuratively "drive forth, disturb, disquiet," frequentative of pellere (past participle pulsus) "to beat, strike" (see pulse (n.1)).
- pulse (n.1)
- "a throb, a beat," early 14c., from Old French pous, pulse (late 12c., Modern French pouls) and directly from Latin pulsus (in pulsus venarum "beating from the blood in the veins"), past participle of pellere "to push, drive," from PIE *pel- (6) "to thrust, strike, drive" (cognates: Greek pallein "to wield, brandish, swing," pelemizein "to shake, cause to tremble"). Extended usages from 16c. Figurative use for "life, vitality, essential energy" is from 1530s.
- pulse (v.)
- "to beat, throb," early 15c., from pulse (n.1) or else from Latin pulsare "to beat, throb," and in part from French. Related: Pulsed; pulsing.
- pulse (n.2)
- "peas, beans, lentils," late 13c., from Old French pouls, pols and directly from Latin puls "thick gruel, porridge, mush," probably via Etruscan, from Greek poltos "porridge" made from flour, from PIE *pel- (1) "dust, flour" (see pollen; also compare poultice).
- pulverise (v.)
- chiefly British English spelling of pulverize (q.v.). Also see -ize. Related: Pulverised; pulverising; pulverisation.
- pulverization (n.)
- 1650s, noun of action from pulverize, or else from French pulvérisation, from Middle French pulveriser.
- pulverize (v.)
- early 15c., from Late Latin pulverizare "reduce to powder or dust," from Latin pulvis (genitive pulveris) "dust, powder" (see pollen). Related: Pulverized; pulverizing.
- puma (n.)
- 1777, from Spanish puma, from Quechua (Peru) puma.
- pumice (n.)
- c. 1400, from Anglo-French and Old French pomis (13c.), from Late Latin pomicem (nominative pomex, genitive pumicis), from Oscan *poimex or some other dialectal variant of Latin pumex "pumice," from PIE *(s)poi-mo-, a root with connotations of "foam, froth" (see foam (n.)). Old English had pumic-stan. As a verb, early 15c., from the noun.
- pumiceous (adj.)
- 1670s, from Latin pumiceus "of pumice stone," from pumex (see pumice).
- pummel (v.)
- 1540s, alteration of pommel in the verbal sense of "to beat repeatedly." In early use pumble, poumle; current spelling from c. 1600. Related: Pummeled; pummeling.
- pump (n.1)
- "apparatus for forcing liquid or air," early 15c., of uncertain origin, possibly from Middle Dutch pompe "water conduit, pipe," or Middle Low German pumpe "pump" (Modern German Pumpe), both from some North Sea sailors' word, possibly of imitative origin.
- pump (n.2)
- "low shoe without fasteners," 1550s, of unknown origin, perhaps echoic of the sound made when walking in them, or perhaps from Dutch pampoesje, from Javanese pampoes, of Arabic origin. Klein's sources propose a connection with pomp (n.). Related: pumps.
- pump (v.)
- c. 1500, from pump (n.1). Metaphoric extension in pump (someone) for information is from 1630s. To pump iron "lift weights for fitness" is from 1972. Related: Pumped; pumping.
- pumper (n.)
- 1650s, agent noun from pump (v.). As "fire engine that pumps water," by 1915.
- pumpernickel (n.)
- "dark rye bread," 1756, pompernickel, from German (Westphalian dialect) Pumpernickel (1663), originally an abusive nickname for a stupid person, from pumpern "to break wind" + Nickel "goblin, lout, rascal," from proper name Niklaus (see Nicholas). An earlier German name for it was krankbrot, literally "sick-bread."
- pumpkin (n.)
- 1640s, alteration of pompone, pumpion "melon, pumpkin" (1540s), from Middle French pompon, from Latin peponem (nominative pepo) "melon," from Greek pepon "melon," probably originally "cooked (by the sun)," hence "ripe;" from peptein "to cook" (see cook (n.)). Pumpkin-pie is recorded from 1650s. Pumpkin-head, American English colloquial for "person with hair cut short all around" is recorded from 1781. Vulgar American English alternative spelling punkin attested by 1806.
America's a dandy place:
The people are all brothers:
And when one's got a punkin pye,
He shares it with the others.
[from "A Song for the Fourth of July, 1806," in "The Port Folio," Philadelphia, Aug. 30, 1806]
- pun (n.)
- 1660s (first attested in Dryden), of uncertain origin, perhaps from pundigron, which is perhaps a humorous alteration of Italian puntiglio "equivocation, trivial objection," diminutive of Latin punctum "point." This is pure speculation. The verb also is attested from 1660s. Related: Punned; punning.
Pun was prob. one of the clipped words, such as cit, mob, nob, snob, which came into fashionable slang at or after the Restoration. [OED]
- punch (v.)
- "to thrust, push; jostle;" also, "prod, to 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, emboss with a tool" is from early 15c.; meaning "to stab, puncture" is from mid-15c. To punch a ticket, etc., is from mid-15c. To punch the clock "record one's arrival at or departure from the workplace using an automated timing device" is from 1900. Related: Punched; punching.
Perhaps you are some great big chief, who has a lot to say.
Specialized sense "to hit with the fist" first recorded 1520s. Compare Latin pugnare "to fight with the fists," from a root meaning "to pierce, sting." In English this was probably influenced by punish; "punch" or "punsch" for "punish" is found in documents from 14c.-15c.:
Who lords it o'er the common herd who chance to come your way;
Well, here is where your arrogance gets a dreadful shock,
When you march up, like a private, salute, and PUNCH THE CLOCK.
[from "Punch the Clock," by "The Skipper," "The Commercial Telegraphers' Journal," May 1912]
punchyth me, Lorde, and spare my blyssyd wyff Anne. [Coventry Mystery Plays, late 15c.]
To punch (someone) out "beat up" is from 1971.
- punch (n.1)
- "pointed tool for making holes or embossing," late 14c., short for puncheon (mid-14c.), from Old French ponchon, poinchon "pointed tool, piercing weapon," from Vulgar Latin *punctionem (nominative *punctio) "pointed tool," from past participle stem of Latin pungere "to prick" (see pungent). From mid-15c. as "a stab, thrust;" late 15c. as "a dagger." Meaning "machine for pressing or stamping a die" is from 1620s.
- punch (n.2)
- type of mixed drink, 1630s, traditionally since 17c. said to derive from Hindi panch "five," in reference to the number of original ingredients (spirits, water, lemon juice, sugar, spice), from Sanskrit panchan-s, from pancha "five" (see five). But there are difficulties (see OED), and connection to puncheon (n.1) is not impossible.
- Punch (n.)
- the puppet show star, 1709, shortening of Punchinello (1666), from Italian (Neapolitan) Pollecinella, Pollecenella, diminutive of pollecena "turkey pullet," probably in allusion to his big nose. The phrase pleased as punch apparently refers to his unfailing triumph over enemies. The comic weekly of this name was published in London from 1841.
- punch (n.3)
- "a quick blow with the fist," by 1570s, probably from punch (v.). In early use also of blows with the foot or jabs with a staff or club. Originally especially of blows that sink in to some degree ("... whom he unmercifully bruises and batters from head to foot: here a slap in the chaps, there a black eye, now a punch in the stomach, and then a kick on the breech," "Monthly Review," 1763). Figurative sense of "forceful, vigorous quality" is recorded from 1911. To beat (someone) to the punch in the figurative sense is from 1915, a metaphor from boxing (attested by 1913). Punch line (also punch-line) is from 1915 (originally in popular-song writing); punch-drunk is from 1915 (alternative form slug-nutty is from 1933).
- punch-bowl (n.)
- 1690s, from punch (n.2) + bowl (n.).
- puncheon (n.1)
- "barrel or cask for soap or liquor; iron vessel," c. 1400, from Old French ponchon, ponson "wine vessel" (13c.), of unknown origin. Uncertain connection with puncheon "slab of timber, strut, wooden beam used as a support in building" (mid-14c.). Punch (n.2) in the drink sense is too late to be the source of the "cask" sense.
- puncheon (n.2)
- "pointed tool for punching or piercing" used by masons, also "die for coining or seal-making," mid-14c.; see punch (n.1). Meaning "stamp, die" is from c. 1500, a specialized use.
- Punchinello (n.)
- see Punch.
- punching (n.)
- c. 1400, "the cutting out of figures;" early 15c. as "a blow with the fist," verbal noun from punch (v.). Related: Punching-bag (1889, figurative sense by 1903; also punch-bag).
- punchless (adj.)
- 1950 of fighters and others lacking requisite power, from punch (n.1); 1853 of situations in which one might seek a drink, from punch (n.2). Related: Punchlessly; punchlessness.