[puhmp-kin or, commonly, puhng-kin] /ˈpʌmp kɪn or, commonly, ˈpʌŋ kɪn/

a large, edible, orange-yellow fruit borne by a coarse, decumbent vine, Cucurbita pepo, of the gourd family.
the similar fruit of any of several related species, as C. maxima or C. moschata.
a plant bearing such fruit.
any of several creeping cucurbitaceous plants of the genus Cucurbita, esp C. pepo of North America and C. maxima of Europe

(often capital) (mainly US) a term of endearment

1640s, alteration of pompone, pumpion “melon, pumpkin” (1540s), from Middle French pompon, from Latin peponem (nominative pepo) “melon,” from Greek pepon “melon,” probably originally “cooked (by the sun),” hence “ripe;” from peptein “to cook” (see cook (n.)). Pumpkin-pie is recorded from 1650s. Pumpkin-head, American English colloquial for “person with hair cut short all around” is recorded from 1781. Vulgar American English alternative spelling punkin attested by 1806.

America’s a dandy place:
The people are all brothers:
And when one’s got a punkin pye,
He shares it with the others.

[from “A Song for the Fourth of July, 1806,” in “The Port Folio,” Philadelphia, Aug. 30, 1806]


A humourous term for the token – the object (notional or real) that gives its possessor (the “pumpking” or the “pumpkineer”) exclusive access to something, e.g. applying patches to a master copy of source (for which the pumpkin is called a “patch pumpkin”).
Chip Salzenberg wrote:
David Croy once told me once that at a previous job, there was one tape drive and multiple systems that used it for backups. But instead of some high-tech exclusion software, they used a low-tech method to prevent multiple simultaneous backups: a stuffed pumpkin. No one was allowed to make backups unless they had the “backup pumpkin”.


Read Also:

  • Pumpkin bread

    noun a moist quick bread made with cooked pumpkin, spices, and often raisins or nuts Examples Pumpkin bread improves with age, so plan to make it a day ahead if possible. Word Origin 1704 Usage Note cooking

  • Pulp-fiction

    noun 1. fiction dealing with lurid or sensational subjects, often printed on rough, low-quality paper manufactured from wood pulp. noun sensationalized, poor-quality writing Word Origin from its being printed on rough pulpy paper Usage Note informal

  • Pulper

    [puhlp] /pʌlp/ noun 1. the soft, juicy, edible part of a fruit. 2. the pith of the stem of a plant. 3. a soft or fleshy part of an animal body. 4. Also called dental pulp. the inner substance of the tooth, containing arteries, veins, and lymphatic and nerve tissue that communicate with their respective […]

  • Pumpkin-head

    noun 1. a slow or dim-witted person; dunce.

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