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puny (adj.)

1570s, "inferior in rank" (1540s as a noun, "junior pupil, freshman"), senses now obsolete, from French puisné (Modern French puîné), from Old French puisne "born later, younger, youngest" (12c., contrasted with aisné "first-born").

This is from puis nez, from puis "afterward" (from Vulgar Latin *postius, from Latin postea "after this, hereafter," from post "after," see post-, + ea "there") + Old French "born," from Latin natus, past participle of nasci "be born" (Old Latin gnasci; from PIE root *gene- "give birth, beget"). Compare puisne.

The sense of "small, weak, insignificant, imperfectly developed in size or strength" is recorded from 1590s. Related: Puniness.

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Definitions of puny from WordNet

puny (adj.)
inferior in strength or significance;
a puny physique
puny excuses
puny (adj.)
(used especially of persons) of inferior size;
Synonyms: runty / shrimpy
From wordnet.princeton.edu