As proud as punch. The chances are you have heard the saying, or even used it yourself at some point in time. The earliest known use of the popular phrase was used in 1797, and it has even been used by Charles Dickens. Dickens also used the alternative variation, pleased as Punch in his novels. As with many sayings that are thrown around the origins are often lost to time. This particular phrase may have been one of them, but we aim to rectify that right now. If you have said that you have been as proud as punch, you may think twice before uttering those words again. No one wants to be associated with a wife beating homicidal psychopath.
The phrase proud as punch originated from a 16th century puppet show that has its origins in Italy, and then moved to Britain where it changed significantly and found fame following the restoration of the monarchy in the 17th century. In Britain they became known as Punch and Judy shows. The show became popular on British beaches, but began to fall out of favour from the mid to late 20th century, mainly due to the fact it is extremely politically incorrect. I bet you are wondering what made the show so bad, and why the phrase “proud as Punch” came about.
Proud as Punch, literally
The problem with the show is the main character, Punch, is a wife beating serial killer who is extremely self satisfied with his evil deeds. Punch is often heard proudly saying “That’s the way to do it!” after he had beaten or killed another victim.
So there you are. The next time you are about to say that particular phrase, rethink what you are about to say, you don’t want to look like a homicidal maniac.