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English wine cask units.jpg

Alternative forms[edit]


Borrowed from Anglo-Norman ponchon, pounceon et al., and Middle French ponçon, poinchon et al., from Old French ponchon, from Latin pūnctiōnem (act of piercing). Doublet of punction.



puncheon (plural puncheons)

  1. A figured stamp, die, or punch, used by goldsmiths, cutlers, etc.
  2. A short, upright piece of timber in framing; a short post; an intermediate stud.
    • 1891, Mary Noailles Murfree, In the "Stranger People's" Country, Nebraska 2005, p. 7:
      he chose to regard [his father] with a lowering and suspicious mien, unless it were in the dead hours of the night, when he developed a morbid craving to be trotted back and forth and up and down the puncheon floor [...].
    1. A piece of roughly dressed timber with one face finished flat.
    2. A split log or heavy slab of timber with the face smoothed, used for flooring or construction.
  3. A walkway or short, low footbridge over wet ground constructed by laying one or more planks or dressed timbers over sills set directly on the ground, also called duck boards, bog boards, or bog bridge.
  4. A short low bridge of similar construction. Also called puncheon bridge.
  5. A cask used to hold liquids, having a capacity varying from 72 to 120 gallons; a tercian.
    • 1789, Olaudah Equiano, The Interesting Narrative, vol. I, ch. 6:
      Once in the Grenada islands, when I and above eight others were pulling a large boat with two puncheons of water in it, a surf struck us, and drove the boat and all in it about half a stone's throw, among some trees, and above the high water mark.
    • 1882, James Edwin Thorold Rogers, A History of Agriculture and Prices in England, p. 205:
      Again, by 28 Hen. VIII, cap. 14, it is re-enacted that the tun of wine should contain 252 gallons, a butt of Malmsey 126 gallons, a pipe 126 gallons, a tercian or puncheon 84 gallons, a hogshead 63 gallons, a tierce 41 gallons, a barrel 31.5 gallons, a rundlet 18.5 gallons.
    • 1913, D.H. Lawrence, Sons and Lovers, chapter 8
      Then he went to the scullery, wetted his hands, scooped the last white dough out of the punchion, and dropped it in a baking-tin.

Related terms[edit]