- (British) IPA: /pjuːni/
puny (comparative punier, superlative puniest)
- Of inferior size, strength or significance; small, weak, ineffective.
- You puny earthlings are no match for Ming the Merciless!
- 1595 December 9 (first known performance), William Shakespeare, “The life and death of King Richard the Second”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act III, scene ii]:
- A puny subject strikes at thy great glory.
- Breezes laugh to scorn our puny speed.
- See also Thesaurus:scrawny
- French: chétif, frêle
- German: kümmerlich, schwächlich, klein, mickrig, kläglich
- Italian: gracile, sparuto
- Portuguese: franzino, fraco, pequeno
- Russian: кро́хотный
- Spanish: flojo, tirillas, gualtrapas
puny (plural punies)
- (obsolete, Oxford University slang) A new pupil at a school etc.; a junior student.
- (obsolete) A younger person.
- 1603, Michel de Montaigne, chapter 12, in John Florio, transl., The Essayes, […], book II, printed at London: By Val[entine] Simmes for Edward Blount […], OCLC 946730821 ↗:
- a law that the eldest or first borne child shall succeed and inherit all: where nothing at all is reserved for Punies, but obedience […].
- (obsolete) A beginner, a novice.
- (archaic) An inferior person; a subordinate.
- (new pupil) fresher, freshman, new bug, novi (Tonbridge School), shadow (Westminster School)
- (beginner) newb, rookie, tenderfoot; see also Thesaurus:beginner
- (subordinate) junior, underling, vassal