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

  • intransitive verb To cut or pass through with or as if with a sharp instrument; stab or penetrate.
  • intransitive verb To make a hole or opening in; perforate.
  • intransitive verb To make a way through.
  • intransitive verb To sound sharply through.
  • intransitive verb To succeed in penetrating (something) with the eyes or the intellect.
  • intransitive verb To penetrate into or through something.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To thrust through with a sharp or pointed instrument; stab; prick.
  • To cut into or through; make a hole or opening in.
  • To penetrate; enter into or through; force a way into or through: as, to pierce the enemy's center.
  • To penetrate with pain, grief, or other emotion; wound or affect keenly; touch or move deeply.
  • Synonyms and Perforate, Transfix, etc. See penetrate.
  • To enter or penetrate; force a way.

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

  • intransitive verb To enter; to penetrate; to make a way into or through something, as a pointed instrument does; -- used literally and figuratively.
  • transitive verb To thrust into, penetrate, or transfix, with a pointed instrument.
  • transitive verb To penetrate; to enter; to force a way into or through; to pass into or through
  • transitive verb Fig.: To penetrate; to affect deeply.

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

  • verb transitive to puncture; to break through
  • verb transitive to create a hole in the skin for the purpose of inserting jewelry
  • verb transitive to break or interrupt abruptly

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

  • verb cut or make a way through
  • verb sound sharply or shrilly
  • verb penetrate or cut through with a sharp instrument
  • noun 14th President of the United States (1804-1869)
  • verb make a hole into
  • verb move or affect (a person's emotions or bodily feelings) deeply or sharply


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

[Middle English percen, from Old French percer, probably from Vulgar Latin *pertūsiāre, from Latin pertūsus, past participle of pertundere, to bore through : per-, per- + tundere, to beat.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old French percier, from its conjugated forms such as (jeo) pierce ("I pierce"), probably from Late Latin *pertusiare, from Latin pertusus, past participle of pertundere ("to thrust or bore through"), from per- ("through") + tundere ("to beat, pound").


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



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