Definition of puny in US English:

puny

adjective

  • 1Small and weak.

    ‘skeletal, white-faced, puny children’
    • ‘All the youngsters look terribly puny, as if they need to sign up for a bodybuilding course.’
    • ‘His size might've been puny, but his strength and his lust for battle made up for it all.’
    • ‘He has a puny physique, so he cannot be only an action hero,.’
    • ‘Despite being puny, I could beat all the boys at school.’
    • ‘He is a dreamer, a schemer, but truth is young Ruskin is puny, skinny and, in the tradition of geeky leads, he wears glasses.’
    • ‘You've got muscly legs, which are the size of pins, and muscly arms, which are puny!’
    • ‘Grendel, a puny lean man with a wicked narrow face and a long nose, was enjoying a pink bubbling liquid in a gold bath.’
    • ‘Father never really liked me, because I was weak and puny, the smallest amongst all my siblings.’
    • ‘The females, for whom size apparently does matter, find the males puny and unappealing.’
    • ‘After a few hours, the muscles on my pathetically puny arms were beginning to ache.’
    • ‘Can you imagine Sachin Tendulkar being reduced to tears by some puny little coach?’
    • ‘They had been beaten by a puny little girl, at least eight inches shorter and scrawny.’
    • ‘Their gigantic footballers have seen off the puny English opposition.’
    • ‘In Angel's mind, she thought Gunther was short and puny but sweet.’
    • ‘One of the truly distressing studies of recent times showed that a majority of Scottish men choose to be overweight because they don't want to appear puny.’
    • ‘But a too short, too skinny, too old quarterback with a puny arm could be changing that.’
    • ‘Surely, as this puny, completely drunk man lay on top of that poor child, any one of them could have yanked him off?’
    • ‘The Viking soldiers tried to attack but most had fled and the others were weak and puny.’
    • ‘If he was a puny bloke, I'd carry the heavy things.’
    undersized, underdeveloped, undernourished, underfed, stunted, slight, small, little, diminutive, dwarfish, pygmy
    pitiful, pitiable, inadequate, negligible, insufficient, scant, scanty, derisory, miserable, sorry, wretched, meagre, paltry, trifling, trivial, insignificant, inconsequential, petty
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Poor in quality, amount, or size.
      ‘the army was reduced to a puny 100,000 men’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Her list of credits would make your puny little life look like a bad joke.’
      • ‘It had to be puny if a relatively weak top break handgun mechanism could safely hold it.’
      • ‘It is a reminder that for all that the human race has accomplished in increasing its power over the environment, it is still puny in the face of the great natural forces.’
      • ‘A starter confit of duck turned out to be one very puny, dry and underseasoned duck leg which tasted roasted not preserved in salt and fat as a proper confit should be.’
      • ‘At a gut level, however, $35 million sounds puny compared to the devastation in the region.’
      • ‘My lack of faith and fear about writing now seemed puny and indefensible.’
      • ‘James Brown has funk power, and had it even when his bands were playing through puny PA systems in rooms that were too large for them.’
      • ‘It is to his puny praise and pathetic shopping list of desires that God, the Creator of All, elects to listen to daily.’
      • ‘The reaction so far has been a sweeping condemnation of the team's hitters, who are described as inept and puny and feeble.’
      • ‘Do my insane ramblings ring a delicate bell in your puny, thoughtless brain?’
      • ‘Severe infections result in pale, puny reds and weak whites.’
      • ‘But Stack carries the comic weight of the show on his puny underdeveloped shoulders and succeeds as an Atlas of anarchy.’
      • ‘Japanese policemen's guns are small and sort of puny.’
      • ‘Your pathetic and puny mind is incapable of any true thought, and merely lurches from situation to situation.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The answer that, ‘We are too puny to understand the purposes of God’ is not an explanation.’
      • ‘Third, stay in the book business long enough to change the market dynamic and plow all those pitifully puny stores under.’
      • ‘Any potential increase in engine power will always be puny in comparison to the amount of drag faced.’
      • ‘They show how puny the supposed threat can seem, how feeble strutting columns of third world soldiery can abruptly become.’
      meagre, scanty, scant, paltry, limited, disappointing, restricted, reduced, modest, insufficient, inadequate, sparse, spare, deficient, negligible, insubstantial, skimpy, short, little, lean, small, slight, slender
      View synonyms

Origin

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

Pronunciation

puny

/ˈpjuni//ˈpyo͞onē/