1580s, from Middle French poinard (early 16c.), from Old French poignal "dagger," literally "anything grasped with the fist," from poing "fist," from Latin pungus "a fist," from suffixed form of PIE root *peuk- "to prick." Probably altered in French by association with poindre "to stab." Compare Latin pugnus "fist," pugio "dagger." As a verb from c. 1600.
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