c. 1300, "a retreat, a drawing back" (a sense now obsolete), from Old French recul "recoil, backward movement, retreat," from reculer (see recoil (v.)). Meaning "back-kick of a firearm or piece of ordnance when discharged" is from 1570s.
Old English dynt "blow dealt in fighting" (especially by a sword), from Proto-Germanic *duntiz (source also of Old Norse dyntr "blow, kick"), a word well represented only in Germanic and of disputed etymology. Phrase by dint of "by force of, by means of," is early 14c.
"to kick a ball dropped from the hands before it hits the ground," 1845, first in a Rugby list of football rules, of obscure origin; perhaps from dialectal punt "to push, strike," alteration of Midlands dialect bunt "to push, butt with the head," of unknown origin, perhaps echoic (compare bunt).
Student slang meaning "give up, drop a course so as not to fail," 1970s, is because a U.S. football team punts when it cannot advance the ball. Related: Punted; punting.
type of Latin American dance, "usu. performed by several people in single file and consisting of three steps forward followed by a kick" [OED], 1935, from American Spanish, fem. of (danza) Congo "Congo (dance)" (see Congo); so called because it was assumed to be of African origin. As a verb by 1941. Related: Congaed; congaing.
Congo was used in the U.S. to form the names of dances associated with slaves from 1803. Congo dance is attested from 1823.
late 14c., "go quickly, rush, dart, spring;" c. 1400, "to strike or thrust," perhaps from French esparer "to kick" (Modern French éparer), from Italian sparare "to fling," from Latin ex- (see ex-) + parare "make ready, prepare," hence "ward off, parry" (from PIE root *pere- (1) "to produce, procure"). Etymologists consider a connection with spur unlikely. Used in 17c. in reference to preliminary actions in a cock fight; figurative sense of "to dispute, bandy with words" is from 1690s. Extension to humans, in a literal sense, with meaning "to engage in or practice boxing" is attested from 1755. Related: Sparred; sparring.