The word punch meaning "to hit" comes from the Old French verb ponchonner, with the root ponchon, meaning "piercing weapon". That developed from Latin punctionem, which described pointed tools and was the past participle of pungere, "to pierce" (finally, pungere derives from Proto-Indo-European pewg, also "pierce"). Punch can, of course, also refer to a type of juice; I always assumed that it was related, but it turns out that's not the case. The word was borrowed in the early seventeenth century from the Hindi word for "five", panch, because when the original punch was introduced to sailors from the British East India Company, it was made with five ingredients (alcohol, water, lemon juice, sugar, and spice). That's traces to Proto-Indo-Iranian panca and Proto-Indo-European penkwe, both also "five".
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Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.