A biting midge of the family Ceratopogonidae; a no-see-um.
Mid 18th century. From New York Dutch *punkje from Munsee Delaware pónkwəs (from Proto-Algonquian *penkw- dust, ashes + -ehs-, diminutive suffix), with alteration of the ending after Dutch -je, diminutive suffix.
noundialect British, South West English
A lantern made by setting a candle in a hollowed-out mangel-wurzel or similar vegetable.
"Punkie night" noun a night, usually in late October, on which punkies are paraded and displayed.
1930s; earliest use found in Notes and Queries. Perhaps a variant of pumpkin, with alteration of the ending after -y.