AskDefine | Define puncheon

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. A figured stamp, die, or punch, used by goldsmiths, cutlers, etc.
  2. (Carpentry) A short, upright piece of timber in framing; a short post; an intermediate stud.
  3. A split log or heavy slab with the face smoothed; as, a floor made of puncheons.
  4. A cask containing, sometimes 84, sometimes 120, gallons.
  5. An English measure of capacity for liquids, containing 84 wine gallons; a tercian.


    • 1882: 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. — James Edwin Thorold Rogers, A History of Agriculture and Prices in England, p. 205.

Extensive Definition



The original and prime meaning of the word puncheon is a tool or instrument for piercing or punching, such as those used for impressing designs onto coin dies. The "barrel" meaning is thought to derive from the fact that it would have been marked by use of a punch to denote its contents.

Puncheon Rum

In Trinidad and Tobago, Trinidadians and Tobagonians have adopted the use of the term "puncheon" to describe Puncheon Rum, which is an high proof light-type rum. Two local manufacturers Caroni Puncheon Rum and Stallion Puncheon Rum produce bottles that are 75% alcohol by volume. A favourite with seafarers and estate workers, Puncheon Rum distilled in the cane-fields of Caroni has traditionally provided comfort and warmth against the elements in Trinidad and Tobago to cane workers. From the early days of the plantations, this rum has been much sought after for blending in Europe and North America.The first distillation of rum took place on the sugarcane plantations of the Caribbean in the 17th century. Plantation slaves first discovered that molasses, a by-product of the sugar refining process, can be fermented into alcohol.

Wine Casks

The puncheon, in the United States also called pon for brevity, is an old English unit of wine casks, holding about 318 litres. It is also known as tertian (from the Latin word for third), because three of it make a tun, and as the (wine) firkin.



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