Meaning & History
From a variant of the Italian word pancia meaning "stomach, paunch", originally a nickname for a chubby person. The Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes used it in his novel Don Quixote (1605), where it is the surname of Don Quixote's squire Sancho Panza. Not a common Spanish surname, Cervantes may have based it directly on the Spanish word panza (a cognate of the Italian word).
Entry added April 25, 2021