from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To strike or tap firmly, as in medical percussion.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To strike against so as to shake or give a shock to; strike.
  • Specifically, in medicine: To tap or strike for diagnostic purposes. See percussion, 4 .
  • To tap or strike for therapeutie purposes. See percussion, 4 .

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb (Med.) To strike or tap in an examination by percussion. See percussion, 3.
  • transitive verb To strike smartly; to strike upon or against.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb transitive To strike; to hit; to knock; to deliver a blow to.
  • verb intransitive To impact.
  • verb transitive To attempt to divine the location or other quality of something by tapping on (an overlying surface).
  • verb transitive To attempt to divine the location or other quality of (something) by tapping on an overlying surface.

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

  • verb strike or tap firmly


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

[Latin percutere, percuss-, to strike hard : per-, per- + quatere, to strike; see kwēt- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French percussir, from Latin percussus, past participle of percutere ("to strike or pierce through"), from per ("through") + quatere (" to shake, strike").


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word percuss.


  • He teaches him how to read the signs from the human body, to use his hands to percuss, and to use his mind to listen.

    The Tennis Partner by Abraham Verghese: Book summary 2010

  • He moved onto more recent acts, slim-hipped and breastless women with curly brown hair and hyper-aggressive technique, women who were better axe-men than he, who shouted like bluesmen and rained down upon him the redemptive fires of slide and the snapping percuss of bass strings.

    Harry, Giselle and Joyce 2010

  • Ten things I like that begin with the letter K: 1. Knights, as we of the Boogie Knights oft refer to ourselves. boogiebabe_smap, theo_knight, John, Heather, Linda, and cairokate are all good eggs and wonderful bandmates, and it's been a privilege to percuss for them for the past year.

    more cute cat pictures! terri_osborne 2006

  • During the procedure your physician first will percuss, or “tap out,” your liver, and mark a suitable spot.

    DR. SANJIV CHOPRA’S LIVER BOOK Sanjiv Chopra 2001

  • When we raise the arms from the side and percuss the thorax between the folds of the axillae, where the serratus magnus muscle alone intervenes between the ribs and the skin, the pulmonic sound will answer clearly.

    Surgical Anatomy Joseph Maclise

  • I will first produce the vowel sound _oo_ and proceed with the vowel sounds to _i_; you will observe that the pitch rises an octave; that this is due to the changes in the form of the resonator is shown when I percuss the resonator in the position of the different vowel sounds.

    The Brain and the Voice in Speech and Song 1889

  • Since pain in the knee-joint may mislead as to the location of the disease, to determine the seat of the affection, place the patient in a chair and percuss the knee lightly, by giving it a slight blow with the knuckle; if the hip be affected, the pain will be readily felt in that joint; if it be simply neuralgia of the knee-joint, it will excite no pain whatever.

    The People's Common Sense Medical Adviser in Plain English or, Medicine Simplified, 54th ed., One Million, Six Hundred and Fifty Thousand Ray Vaughn Pierce 1877

  • I have other fish to fry, other drums to percuss, other plantar warts to palpate.

    Wired Campus 2010

  • Ask the patient to take a deep  breath and percuss this area again  Dullness in this area is a sign of splenic enlargement.

    Recently Uploaded Slideshows 2009

  • The moment I heard her harp begin to percuss in "Bridges and Balloons", my ear instinctively cocked, sensing something unlike anything I'd ever heard before.

    The Crossed Pond 2009


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.