Thursday, 12 January 2012


File:The Revengers Tragedy.jpgPuny comes from the French puis né, meaning born afterwards. It was originally therefore meant to mean junior. That's why, in a British court, all but the most senior judge are called puisne judges; and, yes, puisne is pronounced in exactly the same way as puny.

So all younger children are punies. As a middle child I'm not quite sure how to take this.

A puny can also mean an absolute beginner, hence the line in Middleton*'s Revenger's Tragedy:

I see thou art but a puny in the subtle mystery of a woman.

I wish girls would stop saying that to me.

*Or Tourneur


  1. Do puisne judges award punitive damages?

  2. Only for pusillanimous showing of the pudenda in a pew.

  3. Most enlightening.

    So I am puny compared to my brother Rob, but my other brother Nick, the tallest of the three of us, is punier still.

    I shall tease him mercilessly about this.