Etymology: Pun Punditry

deriving from the Greek for 'true' (eteos/etymos) and 'word' (logos)

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The word pun first came into use in the early 1640s, with the earliest known citation in the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary in 1669. It is possibly a contraction of the now obsolete English pundigrion - itself a version of the English punctilio.

Predating pun by fifty or so years, punctilio derives from the Spanish and Italian puntillo and puntiglio respectively, meaning 'a point'. The original meaning of the word differs from what we ascribe to it today; it was defined in 18th-century dictionaries as quibble, witty, conceit, fancy and clench, that is 'an over-subtle distinction'.

Sheree Clark