pushmi-pullyu (n.) Look up pushmi-pullyu at Dictionary.com
fictional two-headed mammal, from "Dr. Dolittle" (1922), coined by Hugh Lofting from the expressions push me, pull you. Popularized by the 1967 film version of the book.
pushover (n.) Look up pushover at Dictionary.com
also push-over, 1900 of jobs or tasks; 1922 of persons (bad boxers and easy women), from push (v.) + over (adv.).
pushy (adj.) Look up pushy at Dictionary.com
"forward, aggressive," 1894 of persons (1891 of a cow), from push (v.) + -y (2). Related: Pushily; pushiness.
pusillanimity (n.) Look up pusillanimity at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from Middle French pusillanimité (14c.), from Church Latin pusillanimitatem (nominative pusillanimitas) "faintheartedness," from Latin pusillanimis "fainthearted, having little courage" (see pusillanimous).
pusillanimous (adj.) Look up pusillanimous at Dictionary.com
early 15c., from Late Latin pusillanimis "having little courage" (used in Church Latin to translate Greek oligopsychos "small-souled"), from Latin pusillis "very weak, little" (diminutive of pullus "young animal;" see foal (n.)) + animus "spirit, courage" (see animus). Related: Pusillanimously; pusillanimousness.
puss (n.1) Look up puss at Dictionary.com
"cat," 1520s, but probably much older than the record, perhaps imitative of the hissing sound commonly used to get a cat's attention. A conventional name for a cat in Germanic languages and as far off as Afghanistan; it is the root of the principal word for "cat" in Rumanian (pisica) and secondary words in Lithuanian (puz), Low German (puus), Swedish dialect katte-pus, etc. Applied to a girl or woman from c. 1600, originally in a negative sense, implying unpleasant cat-like qualities; but by mid-19c. in affectionate use.
puss (n.2) Look up puss at Dictionary.com
"the face" (but sometimes, especially in pugilism slang, "the mouth"), 1890, slang, from Irish pus "lip, mouth."
pussy (n.1) Look up pussy at Dictionary.com
"cat," 1726, diminutive of puss (n.1), also used of a rabbit (1715). As a term of endearment for a girl or woman, from 1580s (also used of effeminate men). To play pussy was World War II RAF slang for "to take advantage of cloud cover, jumping from cloud to cloud to shadow a potential victim or avoid recognition."
pussy (n.2) Look up pussy at Dictionary.com
slang for "female pudenda," 1879, but probably older; perhaps from Old Norse puss "pocket, pouch" (compare Low German puse "vulva"), but perhaps instead from the cat word (see pussy (n.1)) on notion of "soft, warm, furry thing;" compare French le chat, which also has a double meaning, feline and genital. Earlier uses are difficult to distinguish from pussy (n.1), as in:
The word pussie is now used of a woman [Philip Stubbes, "The Anatomie of Abuses," 1583]
But the absence of pussy in Grose and other early slang works argues against the vaginal sense being generally known before late 19c., as does its frequent use as a term of endearment in mainstream literature, as in:
"What do you think, pussy?" said her father to Eva. [Harriet Beecher Stowe, "Uncle Tom's Cabin," 1852]
Pussy-whipped first attested 1956.
pussy-cat (n.) Look up pussy-cat at Dictionary.com
also pussycat, 1773, from pussy (n.1) + cat (n.).
pussy-willow (n.) Look up pussy-willow at Dictionary.com
1869, on notion of "soft and furry," a children's word, from pussy (n.1) + willow.
pussyfoot (v.) Look up pussyfoot at Dictionary.com
also pussy-foot, 1903, "tread softly," from pussy (n.1) + foot (n.). As a noun from 1911, "a detective," American English, from the nickname of U.S. government Indian Affairs agent W.E. Johnson (1862-1945), in charge of suppressing liquor traffic on Indian reservations in Oklahoma, who was noted for his stealthy tactics. Related: Pussyfooting; pussy-footed (1893).
pustule (n.) Look up pustule at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from Old French pustule (13c.) and directly from Latin pustula "blister, pimple," from PIE imitative root *pu- (1) "blow, swell," on notion of "inflated area" (cognates: Sanskrit pupphusah "lung," Greek physa "breath, blast, wind, bubble," Lithuanian puciu "to blow, swell," Old Church Slavonic puchati "to blow"). Compare emphysema. Related: Pustulant; pustular.
put (v.) Look up put at Dictionary.com
late Old English *putian, implied in putung "instigation, an urging," literally "a putting;" related to pytan "put out, thrust out" (of eyes), probably from a Germanic stem that also produced Danish putte "to put," Swedish dialectal putta; Middle Dutch pote "scion, plant," Dutch poten "to plant," Old Norse pota "to poke."

Meaning "act of casting a heavy stone overhead" (as a trial of strength) is attested from c. 1300. Obsolete past tense form putted is attested 14c.-15c. To put down "end by force or authority" (a rebellion, etc.) is from c. 1300. Adjective phrase put out "angry, upset" is first recorded 1887; to put out, of a woman, "to offer oneself for sex" is from 1947. To put upon (someone) "play a trick on, impose on" is from 1690s. To put up with "tolerate, accept" (1755) was originally to put up, as in "to pocket." To put (someone) on "deceive" is from 1958.
put (n.) Look up put at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, "act of throwing a weight overhand as a test of strength," from put (v.). General meaning "act of putting" is from early 15c. Also compare putt (n.).
put-down (n.) Look up put-down at Dictionary.com
"insult, snub," 1962, from verbal phrase put down "to snub," attested from c. 1400; see put (v.) + down (adv.).
put-on (n.) Look up put-on at Dictionary.com
"ruse, deception," 1937, from earlier adjectival meaning "assumed, feigned" (1620s), a figurative extension of the notion of putting on costumes or disguises; from put (v.) + on (adv.). The expression put (someone) on "play a trick on" seems to be a back-formation from the noun.
put-put Look up put-put at Dictionary.com
indicating the sound of a muffled internal combustion engine, 1904, imitative.
putative (adj.) Look up putative at Dictionary.com
early 15c., from Middle French putatif, from Late Latin putativus "supposed," from Latin putat-, past participle stem of putare "to judge, suppose, believe, suspect," originally "to clean, trim, prune" (see pave). At first especially in putative marriage, one which, though legally invalid, was contracted in good faith by at least one party. Related: Putatively.
putrefaction (n.) Look up putrefaction at Dictionary.com
c. 1400, from Old French putrefaction (14c.), from Latin putrefactionem (nominative putrefactio), noun of action from past participle stem of putrefacere "to make rotten," from putrere "to be rotten" (see putrid) + facere "to make, do" (see factitious).
putrefy (v.) Look up putrefy at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., from Middle French putréfier, from Latin putrefacere "to make rotten," from putrere "to stink" (see putrid) + facere "to make, do" (see factitious). Related: Putrefied; putrefying.
putrescence (n.) Look up putrescence at Dictionary.com
1640s, from Latin putrescentem (nominative putrescens), present participle of putrescere "grow rotten, moulder, decay," inchoative of putrere "be rotten" (see putrid).
putrescent (adj.) Look up putrescent at Dictionary.com
1732, a back-formation from putrescence, or else from Latin putrescentem (nominative putrescens), present participle of putrescere "grow rotten, moulder, decay," inchoative of putrere "be rotten" (see putrid).
putrid (adj.) Look up putrid at Dictionary.com
early 15c., from Latin putridus, from putrere "to rot," from putris "rotten, crumbling," related to putere "to stink," from PIE root *pu- (2) "to rot, stink" (see pus). First in reference to putrid fever, an old name for typhus (also known in Middle English as putrida). Related: Putrification.
putridity (n.) Look up putridity at Dictionary.com
1630s, from Medieval Latin putriditas, from Latin putridus (see putrid).
putsch (n.) Look up putsch at Dictionary.com
1920, from German Putsch "revolt, riot," from Swiss dialect, literally "a sudden blow, push, thrust, shock," of imitative origin.
putt (v.) Look up putt at Dictionary.com
1510s, Scottish, "to push, shove," a special use and pronunciation of put (v.). Golfing sense is from 1743. Meaning "to throw" (a stone, as a demonstration of strength) is from 1724; this also is the putt in shot putting. Related: Putted; putting.
putt (n.) Look up putt at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, "a putting, pushing, shoving, thrusting," special use and pronunciation of put (n.). Golfing sense is from 1743.
puttee (n.) Look up puttee at Dictionary.com
1875, from Hindi patti "band, bandage," from Sanskrit pattah "strip of cloth."
putter (v.) Look up putter at Dictionary.com
"keep busy in a rather useless way," 1841, originally among farmers, alteration of potter (v.). Related: Puttered; puttering.
putter (n.) Look up putter at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "beast that pushes with the head," agent noun from put (v.). As a type of golf club used in putting, from 1743; see putt (v.).
putti (n.) Look up putti at Dictionary.com
1640s, from Italian putti "small boys," plural of putto, from Latin putus "boy, child" (see puerility).
putty (n.) Look up putty at Dictionary.com
1630s, "type of plasterer's cement," from French potée "polishing powder" (12c.), originally "pot-full, contents of a pot," from Old French pot "container" (see pot (n.1)). Meaning "soft mixture for sealing window panes" first recorded 1706. Figurative use in reference to one easily influenced is from 1924. Putty knife attested from 1834.
putty (v.) Look up putty at Dictionary.com
1734, from putty (n.). Related: Puttied; puttying.
putz (n.) Look up putz at Dictionary.com
"obnoxious man, fool," 1964, from Yiddish, from German putz, literally "finery, adornment," obviously used here in an ironic sense. Attested in writing earlier in slang sense of "penis" (1934, in "Tropic of Cancer"). A non-ironic sense is in putz "Nativity display around a Christmas tree" (1873), from Pennsylvania Dutch (German), which retains the old German sense.
puy (n.) Look up puy at Dictionary.com
"conical volcanic hill," especially those in Auvergne, 1858, from French puy, from Latin podium "a height, balcony," literally "support" (see podium).
puzzle (v.) Look up puzzle at Dictionary.com
1590s, pusle "bewilder, confound," possibly frequentative of pose (v.) in obsolete sense of "perplex" (compare nuzzle from nose). Related: Puzzled; puzzling.
puzzle (n.) Look up puzzle at Dictionary.com
c. 1600, "state of being puzzled," from puzzle (v.); meaning "perplexing question" is from 1650s; that of "a toy contrived to test one's ingenuity" is from 1814.
puzzlement (n.) Look up puzzlement at Dictionary.com
1822, from puzzle + -ment.
puzzler (n.) Look up puzzler at Dictionary.com
1650s, agent noun from puzzle (v.).
puzzling (adj.) Look up puzzling at Dictionary.com
"bewildering," 1660s, present participle adjective from puzzle (v.). Related: Puzzlingly.
pvc (n.) Look up pvc at Dictionary.com
also P.V.C., initialism (acronym) from polyvinyl chloride (1933); see polyvinyl.
pwned (adj.) Look up pwned at Dictionary.com
"dominated, humiliatingly defeated, taken over," by 2001, "leetspeak" slang, probably from the common typographical mistake for owned (the -p- and -o- keys being adjacent on standard English keyboards) in the gamer slang sense "completely dominated by another" (in a contest).
Pyanepsia (n.) Look up Pyanepsia at Dictionary.com
festival in honor of Apollo on the 7th of Pyanepsion (fourth month of the Attic calendar, corresponding to October-November), from Greek Pyanepsia (plural), literally "the feast of cooking beans," from pyanos, name of a kind of bean, of unknown origin, + epsein "to boil, cook." At this festival a dish of pulse was offered to the god.
pycno- Look up pycno- at Dictionary.com
before vowels pycn-, word-forming element meaning "close, thick, dense," from comb. form of Greek pyknos "thick, dense." Sometimes via German as pykno-.
pyelo- Look up pyelo- at Dictionary.com
before vowels pyel-, medical word-forming element, 19c., from comb. form of Greek pyelos "oblong trough, bathing-tub," used for "pelvis."
Pygmalion Look up Pygmalion at Dictionary.com
also the Pygmalion word, a British euphemistic substitute for bloody in mid-20c. from its notorious use in Bernard Shaw's play of the same name (1914: "Walk? Not bloody likely!"). The Greek legend of the sculptor/goldsmith and the beautiful statue he made and wished to life, is centered on Cyprus and his name might ultimately be Phoenician.
pygmy (n.) Look up pygmy at Dictionary.com
late 14c., Pigmei, "member of a fabulous race of dwarfs," described by Homer and Herodotus and said to inhabit Egypt or Ethiopia and India, from Latin Pygmaei (singular Pygmaeus), from Greek Pygmaioi, plural of Pygmaios "a Pygmy," noun use of adjective meaning "dwarfish," literally "of the length of a pygme; a pygme tall," from pygme "cubit," literally "fist," the measure of length from the elbow to the knuckle; related to pyx "with clenched fist" and to Latin pugnus "fist" (see pugnacious).

Figurative use for "person of small importance" is from 1590s. Believed in 17c. to refer to chimpanzees or orangutans, and occasionally the word was used in this sense. The ancient word was applied by Europeans to the equatorial African race 1863, but the tribes probably were known to the ancients and likely were the original inspiration for the legend. As an adjective from 1590s. Related: Pygmean; Pygmaean.
pyjamas (n.) Look up pyjamas at Dictionary.com
also pyjama (adj.), chiefly British English spelling of pajamas. Early spellings in English also include pai jamahs (1800); pigammahs (1834), peijammahs (1840).
pylon (n.) Look up pylon at Dictionary.com
1823, "gateway to an Egyptian temple," from Greek pylon "gateway," from pyle "gate, wing of a pair of double gates; an entrance, entrance into a country; mountain pass; narrow strait of water," of unknown origin. Meaning "tower for guiding aviators" (1909) led to that of "steel tower for high-tension wires" (1923).