Variant of Poenicus, from Poenus (“Phoenician”) + -icus.
The ethnonym is an adoption of Ancient Greek Φοῖνιξ (Phoînix), homophonous with φοῖνιξ (phoînix, “Tyrian purple”). There has been some debate as to whether the ethnonym was derived from the name of the dye or vice versa. While it seems in any case likely that both are influenced by the genuinely Greek adjective φοινός (phoinós, “blood-red”), the ethnonym is recorded already in Mycenaean Greek 𐀡𐀛𐀑𐀍 (po-ni-ki-jo), and is apparently a loan from Egyptian fnḫw (“Asiatics, Semites”),
pūnicus (feminine pūnica, neuter pūnicum); first/second-declension adjective
- Punic, Carthaginian