"pertaining to Carthage," 1530s, from Latin Punicus, earlier Poenicus "Carthaginian," originally "Phoenician" (adj.), Carthage having been founded as a Phoenician colony, from Poenus (n.), from Greek Phoinix "Phoenician" (see Phoenician). Carthaginians were proverbial among the Romans as treacherous and perfidious. Punic Wars were three wars between the Romans and the Carthaginians fought 264-146 B.C.E. Related: Punical (early 15c.).