One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1another name for punch (sense 1 of the noun)
- ‘Pulcinella, often called Punch or Punchinello in English, Polichinelle in French, is a classical character that originated in the Commedia dell'arte of the 17th century and became a stock character in Neapolitan puppetry.’
- ‘One or two illustrated comic papers had already appeared in London, notably Gilbert Abbott à Beckett's Figaro in London and Punchinello, illustrated by Cruikshank.’
- ‘In the 1790s he produced a sequence of frescoes of Punchinellos, remarkable for their joie de vivre and sense of theatre He was also a successful etcher.’
- ‘Highlight of Christie's drawings sale on the 6 July is one of Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo's glorious pen, ink and wash drawings from the life of Punchinello series.’
- 1.1archaic A short, stout, comical-looking person.
Mid 17th century: alteration of Neapolitan dialect Polecenella, perhaps a diminutive of pollecena ‘young turkey cock with a hooked beak’, from pulcino ‘chicken’, from Latin pullus.
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