One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A sharpened bamboo stake, typically one tipped with poison, set in a camouflaged hole in the ground as a means of defence, especially in SE Asia.
- ‘We used caltrops, sharpened spikes, punji stakes and pits, ‘Venus flytraps’, abatis ditches, everything we could think of that would slow an attack.’
- ‘Together they contain 153 upright 11-inch spikes, honed to the sharpness of a Viet Cong punji stake.’
Late 19th century: punji probably of Tibeto-Burman origin.
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