Probably imitative; or, alternatively from Proto-Germanic *pukaną ("to spit, puff"), from Proto-Indo-European *bew- ("to blow, swell"). If so, then cognate with German pfauchen, fauchen. Compare also Dutch spugen ("to spit, spit up"), German spucken ("to spit, puke, throw up"), Old English spīwan ("to vomit, spit"). More at spew.
Attested as early as 1581, first mention is the derivative pukishness. In 1600, "to spit up, regurgitate", recorded in the Seven Ages of Man speech in Shakespeare's As You Like It.
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