punding, pottering, knick-knacking

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at RCI.RUTGERS.EDU
Wed Aug 24 08:31:52 UTC 2005

* punding, vbl. n. 'repeated stereotypic behavior induced by amphetamines'
[coined by G. Rylander, from Swedish _pundhuvud_ 'block-head', slang term
for an amphetamine addict]

1972 G. RYLANDER in _Psychiatria, Neurologia, Neurochirurgia_ 75(3)
(May-Jun) 203 (paper title) Psychoses and the punding and choreiform
syndromes in addiction to central stimulant drugs.

2005 J. SHAFER in _Slate_ 23 Aug., He informed me of the neurological
concept of "punding," the restless and repetitive assembling and
disassembling of mechanical devices (watches, carburetors, radios), the
obsessive lining-up of small objects, or the picking at one's own skin.

* pund, v. 'to engage in punding'

1996 _Deprenyl's l-amphetamine metabolites_ in _sci.life-extension_
(Usenet newsgroup) 29 May, But for the sake of argument, Daniel, I'll
agree that you weren't punding - just gnawing.

2001 _Movement Disorders_ 14(5) 836 The term was adopted by Rylander from
the amphetamine abusers' own name for their odd automatic behavior, that
is, to pund, because it had no psychiatric name when he described this

2005 J. SHAFER in _Slate_ 23 Aug., Because meth, like amphetamine, causes
a flood of dopamine, it stands to reason that a meth user would pund.

* punder, n. 'one who engages in punding'

2001 _Movement Disorders_ 14(5) 837 Although it starts and goes on without
any real feeling of compulsion, punders feel anxious when they try to stop

2004 _Movement Disorders_ 19(4) 398 The interview approach was developed
from preliminary discussions with PD patients who had been identified as

The last article extends the use of "punding" to behavior by patients with
Parkinson's disease who overuse dopaminergic medication. The article also
gives references to papers that have used other terms for the repetitive
behavior of amphetamine addicts...

* (to be) hung-up

1966 J. Scher, Patterns and profiles of addiction and drug abuse. Arch Gen
Psychiatry 15: 539-551

* pottering

1970 E. Anggard et al., Pharmacokinetic and clinical studies on
amphetamine dependent subjects. Eur J Clin Pharmacol 3:3-11

* knick-knacking

1973 EH Ellinwood et al., Evolving behavior in the clinical and
experimental amphetamine (model) psychosis. Am J Psychiatry 130:1088-1093

Later cites for the last two:

1981 E. SCHIORRING in _Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior_ 14 Suppl 1
109 (abstract) The following behavioral aberrations in humans were found:
(1) motor stereotypies with bizarre movements; repetitive, aimless
activities; ("pottering"= "knick-knacking"= "punding") with various
objects, including own body.

1988 E. VALENSTEIN _Blaming the Brain_ 89 For example, in Sweden
stereotyped behavior was called "punding," and in the Haight-Ashbury
district of San Francisco it was called "knick-knacking."

--Ben Zimmer

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