Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. To spring or swoop with intent to seize someone or something: a cat that pounced on a mouse; watched the falcon pounce on the baby rabbit.
  • intransitive v. To attack suddenly: irregular troops who pounced on the convoy at a narrow pass; a colleague who pounced on me because of a mistake in my report.
  • intransitive v. To seize something swiftly and eagerly: pounce on an opportunity.
  • transitive v. To seize with or as if with talons.
  • n. The act or an instance of pouncing.
  • n. The talon or claw of a bird of prey.
  • n. A fine powder formerly used to smooth and finish writing paper and soak up ink.
  • n. A fine powder, such as pulverized charcoal, dusted over a stencil to transfer a design to an underlying surface.
  • transitive v. To sprinkle, smooth, or treat with pounce.
  • transitive v. To transfer (a stenciled design) with pounce.
  • transitive v. To ornament (metal, for example) by perforating from the back with a pointed implement.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A type of fine powder sprinkled over wet ink to dry the ink after writing.
  • v. To leap into the air intending to seize someone or something.
  • v. To attack suddenly.
  • v. To eagerly seize an opportunity.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A fine powder, as of sandarac, or cuttlefish bone, -- formerly used to prevent ink from spreading on manuscript.
  • n. Charcoal dust, or some other colored powder for making patterns through perforated designs, -- used by embroiderers, lace makers, etc.
  • n. The claw or talon of a bird of prey.
  • n. A punch or stamp.
  • n. Cloth worked in eyelet holes.
  • intransitive v. To fall suddenly and seize with the claws; -- with on or upon. Also used figuratively.
  • transitive v. To sprinkle or rub with pounce.
  • transitive v. To strike or seize with the talons; to pierce, as with the talons.
  • transitive v. To punch; to perforate; to stamp holes in, or dots on, by way of ornament.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To punch; prick; perforate; make holes in; specifically, to ornament by perforating or cutting; ornament with holes, especially eyelet-holes.
  • To cut, as glass or metal; ornament by cutting.
  • To seize with the pounces; strike suddenly with the claws or talons.
  • In hat-making, to raise a nap on (a felt hat). See pouncing-machine.
  • To fall on and seize with the pounces or talons; dart or dash upon, like a bird of prey upon its victim; seize suddenly: used with on or upon.
  • To sprinkle or rub with pounce; powder.
  • To trace by rubbing pounce through holes pricked in the outline of a pattern: as, to pounce a design. See pouncing.
  • To imprint or copy a design upon by means of pounce. See pouncing.
  • In hat-making, to grind or finish (felt hats) by dressing them with sandpaper.
  • n. A punch or puncheon; a stamp.
  • n. A sharp-pointed graver.
  • n. Cloth pounced, or worked with eyelet-holes.
  • n. A claw or talon of a bird of prey; the claw or paw of any animal.
  • n. A substance, such as powdered sepia-bone or powdered sandarach, used to prevent blotting in rewriting over erasures, and in medicine as an antacid; also, a similar powder used in the preparation of parchment or writing-paper.
  • n. A powder (especially, the gum of the juniper-tree reduced to a finely pulverized state, or finely powdered pipe-clay darkened by charcoal) inclosed in a bag of some open stuff, and passed over holes pricked in a design to transfer the lines to a paper underneath. This kind of pounce is used by embroiderers to transfer their patterns to their stuffs; also by fresco-painters, and sometimes by engravers.
  • n. A powder used as a medicine or cosmetic.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the act of pouncing
  • v. move down on as if in an attack

Etymologies

From Middle English, pointed tool, talon of a hawk, perhaps variant of ponson, pointed tool; see puncheon1.
French ponce, from Old French, from Vulgar Latin *pōmex, *pōmic-, from Latin pūmex, pumice.
Middle English pouncen, probably from Old French poinssonner, from poinson, pointed tool; see puncheon1.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French ponce, from Latin pumex. (Wiktionary)
From Middle English, probably akin to punch. Possibly from Old French poinçonner; cf. poinçon. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • It shouldn't come as a surprise that following the former White House leader's remarks on Thursday, Democrats were quick to once again pounce on the issue.

    George W. Bush Reveals His Biggest Failure Was Not Privatizing Social Security

  • She raises her arm high, her elbow cocked and ready to pounce, that is, stab.

    You've Been Warned

  • At the period of the presumed date of this document blotting paper was unknown, writings being dried by means of a specially prepared fine powder called pounce, sand, or a powder containing fine crystals of metal intended to give an ornamental gloss to the ink.

    The Detection of Forgery A Practical Handbook for the Use of Bankers, Solicitors, Magistrates' Clerks, and All Handling Suspected Documents

  • And y'all knew that these easy, securitized, no-doc loans based on b.s. assessments would blow up, so you carefully tended to your credit scores and bided your time, and waited to "pounce" after the bubble burst.

    Your Right Hand Thief

  • So the fact that the McCain campaign would "pounce" on Biden's comment is really really bizarre considering how erratic and reckless McCain has been when responding to past and present crises.

    Max Bergmann: John McCain Has Repeatedly Failed the Commander-in-Chief Test

  • KURTZ: Is there room in the media culture for somebody who thinks a little bit differently, or do you find that the media kind of pounce on these incidents and pump them up and distort them, and the original meaning of what you tried to say sometimes is lost?

    CNN Transcript Dec 21, 2008

  • A contributor to Biased-BBC a "pounce" makes some interesting points about the BBC's biased reporting of this issue

    The AIDS epidemic

  • Miriro Pswarai of the ZCTU told a recent workshop on gender, labour and democratisation held at the University of Zimbabwe that her organisation's department for women was ready to "pounce" if the government did not introduce and incorporate issues of sexual harassment in the pending harmonised labour bill.

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • Not reaching for the winged one but in a kind of pounce and retreat pattern as if she played with some prey in a cruel fashion.

    Flight in Yiktor

  • Beppo, who had been searching for them, emerged from the dark with a kind of pounce and talked Italian to them vociferously.

    The Enchanted April

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Comments

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  • Pounce was made from the ground internal shells of cuttlefish or from sandarac.

    December 4, 2007

  • also claw of a bird of prey

    April 24, 2007

  • No, AZ, just decided there are so many words and phrases about powder that it would be interesting to see them all together. That, and I have a fetish for black powder--that is, gunpowder. :)

    February 19, 2007

  • c_b, did you read a book on powders or something?

    February 18, 2007

  • Was pounce made of pumice?

    February 18, 2007

  • Noun. In the eighteenth century, a fine powder used to prevent ink from spreading.

    February 6, 2007