Punt meaning to gamble or place a bet dates from the early 18th century from the French ponter pointe, which means to bet against the bank or banker by pointing to them. The word became especially associated with betting on horses from the late 19th century. Punters then became a term for gamblers or customers in general. Usage then broadened during the 20th century and to take a punt at something now means to try or gamble on some course of action, not necessarily placing a formal bet. A punt as in a kick from the hand in rugby before it touches the ground dates from about 1845. This meaning derives from punt as in river punting, where one propels a punt, which is a flat bottomed river boat (dates from 1500) by means of pushing or dropping a pole downwards onto the river bottom.