The Word: A puncture, as a noun, is a hole or wound made by a sharp point, or a small hole in a tire that causes it to lose air. We’ll ignore that second one, though I imagine it’s useful. As a verb, it means to make a hole in something, or someone, with a sharp point; to weaken, damage, or destroy something, such as an argument or a person’s feelings, pride, etc.–or, I suppose, someone–suddenly or in a way that causes surprise or embarrassment (Oh my!); or to interrupt silence in a sudden and unexpected way, like this.
Etymology/History: As a noun, puncture was first used in the 14th century–it stems from the Late Latin punctura, “a pricking,” and from Latin punctus, past participle of pungere “to prick, pierce.” (Like pungent, which might have to be next week’s word.) It wasn’t recorded as a verb until the 1690s, and, obviously, comes from the noun.
Phonology/Sound: There’s not too much to say about the P sound, which isn’t really very metal, but the -UNC is different. The short U and the dental or alveolar nasal N really just facilitate the very metal C sound. C actually comes from the same letter as G–and there’s a long complicated history involving early Latin inscriptions and the letters K and Q, all of which are very metal-sounding, but is, alas, a digression–which, as we’ve seen before, is very metal. The -UNC followed by the T actually sound, well, like a puncture. I imagine it’s the sound you make when you’re stabbing a former band-mate, or something. But then, something magical happens: the -TURE. More specifically, the T, which, with the -URE, takes the -CH sound, which, like the G, is a very guitar-chug-chug sound. (It is also what people think the sound of Friday the 13th’s Jason is, but, they would be mistaken.) And there you have it: puncture includes both a stabby sound, and a chuggy guitar sound, which, along with its definition, make it very metal.
In Metal: Aside from the late 70s English punk band, Puncture, and Puncture, the “Industrial Speed Metal” band from Arlington, TX, the name seems to be wide open. The only album title we’ve found is, of course, Arlington’s Puncture‘s self-titled 1994 release. Song-wise, though, there are Cannibal Corpse‘s “Puncture Wound Massacre,” and the not-nearly-as-good “Puncture (a/an/and) Pustule” by an Athens, GR grind band called Dissected. So, it looks like puncture is pretty underused in metal. That said, we think the Latin punctus would make a pretty sweet band name, and that doesn’t seem to be taken.
Now, enjoy some Cannibal Corpse: