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).
pylorus (n.) Look up pylorus at Dictionary.com
1610s, from Late Latin pylorus "the lower orifice of the stomach," from Greek pyloros, literally "gatekeeper, porter," from pyle "gate" (see pylon) + ouros "watcher, guardian" (see warrant (n.)). Related: Pyloric.
pyo- Look up pyo- at Dictionary.com
word-forming element meaning "pus," from comb. form of Greek puon "pus" (see pus).
pyogenic (adj.) Look up pyogenic at Dictionary.com
1840s, from pyogenesis, medical Latin, from pyo- "pus" + genesis.
Pyongyang Look up Pyongyang at Dictionary.com
North Korean capital, from Korean p'yong "flat" + yang "land."
pyracanth (n.) Look up pyracanth at Dictionary.com
thorny shrub of the apple family, 1660s, from Modern Latin genus name Pyracantha, from Greek pyrakantha (Dioscorides), a plant named but not described, from pyr- "fire" (see fire (n.)) + akantha "thorn, thorny plant," from PIE root *ak- "sharp, pointed" (see acrid).
pyramid (n.) Look up pyramid at Dictionary.com
1550s (earlier in Latin form piramis, late 14c.), from French pyramide (Old French piramide "obelisk, stela," 12c.), from Latin pyramides, plural of pyramis "one of the pyramids of Egypt," from Greek pyramis (plural pyramides) "a pyramid," apparently an alteration of Egyptian pimar "pyramid." Financial sense is from 1911. Related: Pyramidal.
pyre (n.) Look up pyre at Dictionary.com
1650s, from Latin pyra and directly from Greek pyra "funeral pyre; altar for sacrifice; any place where fire is kindled," from pyr "fire," cognate with Old English fyr (see fire (n.)).
Pyrenees Look up Pyrenees at Dictionary.com
1550s, from French Pyrénées, from Latin Pyrenæi montes, from Greek Pyrene, name of a daughter of Bebryx/Bebrycius who was beloved of Herakles; she is said to be buried in these mountains (or that the mountains are the tomb Herakles reared over her corpse). The name is said to mean literally "fruit-stone," but Room says it might be Greek pyr "fire" + eneos "dumb, speechless," which perhaps translates or folk-etymologizes a Celtic goddess name. "In medieval times there was no overall name for the range and local people would have known only the names of individual mountains and valleys" [Room, Adrian, Place Names of the World, 2nd ed., McFarland & Co., 2006]. Related: Pyrenean.
pyretic (adj.) Look up pyretic at Dictionary.com
1809, from French pyrétique or directly from Modern Latin pyreticus, from Greek pyretos "fever, burning heat," related to pyr "fire" (see fire (n.)). As a noun, "a pyretic agent," from 1728.
Pyrex (n.) Look up Pyrex at Dictionary.com
1915, proprietary name (Corning Glass Works, Corning, N.Y.), arbitrary coinage, in which eager etymologists see implications of Greek pyr "fire" and perhaps Latin rex "king;" but the prosaic inventors say it was based on pie (n.1), because pie dishes were among the first products made from it. The -r- is purely euphonious.
pyrexia (n.) Look up pyrexia at Dictionary.com
"fever," 1769, medical Latin, from Greek pyrexis "feverishness," from pyressein "to be feverish, to be ill of fever," from pyretos "fever, burning heat," related to pyr "fire" (see fire (n.)).
pyrgologist (n.) Look up pyrgologist at Dictionary.com
"one versed in the structure and history of towers," 1877, from Greek pyrgos "a tower; highest point of a building" + -ologist. It seems to have been used once, in the "Athenaeum" of Aug. 18, and then forgotten except in the dictionary.
pyrite (n.) Look up pyrite at Dictionary.com
"metallic iron disulfide, fool's gold," 1550s, from Old French pyrite (12c.), from Latin pyrites, from Greek pyrites lithos "stone of fire, flint" (so called because it glitters), from pyrites "of or in fire," from pyr (genitive pyros) "fire" (see fire (n.)). Related: Pyritic.
pyro- Look up pyro- at Dictionary.com
before vowels pyr-, word-forming element form meaning "fire," from Greek pyro-, combining form of pyr (genitive pyros) "fire, funeral fire," also symbolic of terrible things, rages, "rarely as an image of warmth and comfort" [Liddell & Scott]; see fire (n.). Pyriphlegethon, literally "fire-blazing," was one of the rivers of Hell.
pyroclastic (adj.) Look up pyroclastic at Dictionary.com
1887, from pyro- + clastic.
pyrogen (n.) Look up pyrogen at Dictionary.com
1858, as a proposed word for "electricity," from pyro- + -gen. Meaning "fever-producer" is from 1896. Related: Pyrogenic; pyrogenetic. Greek pyrogenes meant "born in fire, wrought by fire."
pyrolatry (n.) Look up pyrolatry at Dictionary.com
"fire-worship," 1660s, from pyro- + -latry. Related: Pyrolater.
pyrolusite (n.) Look up pyrolusite at Dictionary.com
"manganese dioxide," 1828, the name given in Roman times, when it was used, in a heated state, to de-colorize glass, from Greek elements pyro- "by heat, by fire" (see pyro-) + lysis "a loosening" (see lose).
pyrolysis (n.) Look up pyrolysis at Dictionary.com
1879, from pyro- + -lysis. Related: Pyrolytic.
pyromania (n.) Look up pyromania at Dictionary.com
1840, from pyro- "fire" + mania "madness, frenzy." Used in German in the 1830s.
The propensity which leads an insane person to accomplish his purpose by burning, has been considered to merit particular notice, and to constitute a variety of monomania. Dr. Marc, of France, has published a memoir on the subject; he gives the name of pyromania to it, and considers that, like other insane propensities, it may be the result of instinct, or it may be the result of delusion--reasoning upon erroneous principles. [Alexander Morrison, M.D., "The Physiognomy of Mental Diseases," London, 1840]
An older word for it was incendiarism.
pyromaniac (adj.) Look up pyromaniac at Dictionary.com
1855, from pyromania. As a noun from 1861.
pyrophobia (n.) Look up pyrophobia at Dictionary.com
"morbid fear or fire," 1871, from pyro- + -phobia.
pyrophoric (adj.) Look up pyrophoric at Dictionary.com
1779, from Modern Latin pyrophorus, literally "fire-bearing," from Greek pyrophoros, from pyro- (see pyro-) + phoros "bearer," from pherein "to carry" (see infer). Related: Pyrophorous; pyrophorus.
pyrotechnic (adj.) Look up pyrotechnic at Dictionary.com
1704, "of or pertaining to fire;" 1825, "of or pertaining to fireworks," from pyro- + Greek tekhnikos "made by art," from tekhne "art" (see techno-). Figurative use attested from 1847. Related: Pyrotechnical (1610s, from pyrotechny "use of gunpowder," 1570s).
pyrotechnician (n.) Look up pyrotechnician at Dictionary.com
1729, from pyrotechnic + -an.
pyrotechnics (n.) Look up pyrotechnics at Dictionary.com
1729, from pyrotechnic (also see -ics). Figurative sense is from 1901.
Pyrrhic (adj.) Look up Pyrrhic at Dictionary.com
1885 (usually in phrase Pyrrhic victory), from Pyrrhus, king of Epirus, who defeated Roman armies at Asculum, 280 B.C.E., but at such cost to his own troops that he was unable to follow up and attack Rome itself, and is said to have remarked, "one more such victory and we are lost."
pyrrhic (n.) Look up pyrrhic at Dictionary.com
"dance in armor" (1590s), also a type of metrical foot (1620s), from Latin pyrrhicha, from Greek pyrrikhe orkhesis, the war-dance of ancient Greece, traditionally named for its inventor, Pyrrikhos. The name means "reddish," from pyrros "flame-colored," from pyr "fire" (see fire (n.)). As an adjective from 1749.
Pyrrhonic (adj.) Look up Pyrrhonic at Dictionary.com
1590s, "pertaining to Pyrrho," skeptic philosopher of Elis (c.360-c.275 B.C.E.), who held the impossibility of attaining certainty of knowledge. Related: Pyrrhonism; Pyrrhonist.
Pythagorean (adj.) Look up Pythagorean at Dictionary.com
1540s, from Latin Pythagoreus "of or pertaining to Pythagoras," Greek philosopher of Samos (6c. B.C.E.), whose teachings included transmigration of the soul and vegetarianism (these are some of the commonest early allusions in English). The Pythagorean theorem is the 47th of the first book of Euclid.
Pythia (n.) Look up Pythia at Dictionary.com
"priestess of Apollo at Delphi," 1842, from Greek pythia (hiereia) "(Priestess) of Pythian Apollo, from a variant form of Pythios, an epithet of Apollo, from Pytho, older name of the region of Delphi (see python).
Pythian (adj.) Look up Pythian at Dictionary.com
c.1600, "pertaining to Delphi or Delphic Apollo," from Pythia + -an. As a noun from 1590s.