Definition of puny in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈpjuːni/

adjective (punier, puniest)

1Small and weak: white-faced, puny children
More example sentences
  • Father never really liked me, because I was weak and puny, the smallest amongst all my siblings.
  • The Viking soldiers tried to attack but most had fled and the others were weak and puny.
  • Their gigantic footballers have seen off the puny English opposition.
1.1Poor in quality, amount, or size: the army was reduced to a puny 100,000 men
More example sentences
  • It is simply not worth the hassle to deal in such a puny amount - dealing costs will take out a hefty chunk of any profit on the shares.
  • With a puny drive and paltry track record, he has only accuracy off the tee to commend him, but it has not prevented the galleries accepting him as one of their own.
  • Third, stay in the book business long enough to change the market dynamic and plow all those pitifully puny stores under.



Example sentences
  • And when, at the end of the first scene, the tribunes itemise the hero's flaws, Hicks is again visible making his detractors appear punily envious.
  • Two Mushtaqs of Pakistani cricket, both of who were punily built and bowled legspin, have totally diverging views though.


Pronunciation: /ˈpjuːnɪnəs/
Example sentences
  • In the film, Macy's character was totally enclosed in the irony and yet we could identify with his desperate puniness without hoping for him to get away with his crime.
  • Besides, the point of the original version's visual extravagance was not to show off; it was to contrast the grandeur of the characters' silly young dreams with the puniness of their old, educated bitterness.
  • The book seems to be about the fear of death, the culture of death, the arrogance and puniness of men and women in the face of death, and even the defeat of death.


Mid 16th century (as a noun denoting a younger or more junior person): phonetic spelling of puisne.

  • posthumous from early 17th century:

    In English posthumous means ‘happening after a person's death’. Latin postumus, on which it is based, meant ‘last’. A baby born posthumously (the most common use of the word), after the death of its father, would be the father's last child. The h was added to the spelling of the English word because of the influence of humus ‘ground, earth’, or humare ‘to bury’, both words that relate to the idea of death. The French near relative of postumus was puisne, formed from puis ‘afterwards’ and ‘born’. This originally meant a younger person, and is the source of our puny (mid 16th century).

Words that rhyme with puny

cartoony, lacunae, loony, Moonie, moony, Nguni, Rooney, spoony, uni

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: puny

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