One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A defensive fortification at the entrance to the harbour at Cadiz (originally consisting of a blockhouse erected on a point of sand); a similar fortification elsewhere.
Early 18th century; earliest use found in The London Gazette. From el Puntal, the name of a defensive fortification at the entrance to the harbour at Cadiz, probably from Spanish el, definite article + puntal point of land from punta point + -al.
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