Definition of Punchinello in English:



  • 1

    another 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. 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.