An English measure of capacity for wine, one third of a tun. This unit is also sometimes called a firkin or tertian. After 1824 it = 70 imperial gallons, about 318.2 liters. Previously it had been 84 wine gallons. See wine barrel for a chart showing its relationship to other wine measures. Abbr., “pun.”.¹
It also had other conventional commercial values, for particular commodities:
|brandy||100 to 110 imperial gallons|
|molasses||1,120 to 1,344 pounds av.|
|rum||90 to 100 imperial gallons|
|Scotch whiskey||112 to 120 imperial gallons|
Lederer speculates that the 18th century American pon, a cask in which sugar was shipped, was a shortening of puncheon.²
1. Nesbit (1869), page 276;
2. Richard M. Lederer, Jr.
Colonial American English. A Glossary.
Essex, Connecticut: A Verbatim Book, 1985.
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Last revised: 22 January 2017.