punt2 (s.xii2/4)

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punt2 (s.xii2/4)

[ gdw]

[ FEW: ; Gdf: ; GdfC: ; TL: 7,1398 pon; DEAF: ; DMF:  pont; TLF: ; OED: ; MED: ; DMLBS: ]
point,  pont;  pun,  punz,  pin  1994 (var.)  

The word is relatively common in early French texts and clearly refers to a part of the sword. Its precise sense and etymology are, however, unclear. Text editors usually translate the word as ‘pommel’ (i.e. the ornamental knob or ball at the end of the hilt) and relate it to pume (‘apple’ and hence ‘apple shape’). As such it seems to be synonymous with the etymologically related pomel1. See Horn ii 142.n1520 for such a interpretation. However, the appearance of an unetymological ‘t’ suggests the influence of or confusion with another etymon, for which there are at least two other candidates: point1 (‘point’) and punt1 (‘bridge’). The first, point1, seems unlikely, as all the senses gravitate around the lower end and hilt of the sword, i.e. everything but the ‘point’. However, in a few instances it is not excluded that the part of the sword talked about is its point or tip. The second option, punt1, adds a transferred sense to ‘bridge’, meaning ‘cross-guard, transverse bar that protects the hand’. Such a meaning is indeed included in the DMF entry for pont, cited only from Guillaume de Machaut’s mid fourteenth-century Le Livre du voir dit. While such an interpretation is possible in some instances, it certainly does not work for all Anglo-Norman attestations. Finally, there may have been influence of the word poin1 (‘fist’), in which case it refers to the part of the sword held in one’s fist, the hilt. This sense offers a possible interpretation for some of the Anglo-Norman citations and is further confirmed by the alternative reading of helt in Horn 1520 (OH). Altogether, the word may be considered a literary term, read and interpreted differently by different authors, but ultimately referring to more or less the same section of the weapon.


1weaponsmil.lower part of a sword, either the pommel, cross-guard or hilt
( MS: s.xii2/4 )  Mais de s’espee ne volt mie gurepir: En sun puign destre par l’orié punt la tint  466
( c.1170; MS: s.xiiim )  En sun poin tint le brant od le pun de cristal  (O) 4751
( c.1185; MS: s.xiiim )  Li punz e li heut sunt de or mer  4894
( s.xiiiin; MS: c.1300 )  Lui glut sache le branc, dount le point fu deoré, E feert lui quens Guioun, la teste lui ad coupé  189
( s.xiii1/3; MS: s.xiiim )  ‘Qui vit unques mes tele espee?’ [...] Puis en ad le punz esgardee, Qui tant est richement entaillé  9821
poin#1  pume  punt#1 
This is an AND2 Phase 4 (N-O/U-P-Q) entry. © 2013-17 The Anglo-Norman Dictionary. All rights reserved. Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council of the United Kingdom.