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

  • adjective Able or seeming to pierce, as.
  • adjective Very loud; shrill.
  • adjective Fixed and intense in appearance.
  • adjective Causing pain, especially because of cold.
  • adjective Trenchant; incisive.
  • adjective Keenly perceptive or intelligent.
  • noun A piece of jewelry designed to be worn through a perforation in a body part.
  • noun The hole through which such a piece of jewelry is worn.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Penetration. Specifically
  • noun In metalworking, the operation of sawing out a pattern or an object from a plate, as distinguished from punching it out. It is done with a jigor band-saw.
  • Penetrating; sharp; keen: as, piercing eyes; a piercing wind.
  • That touches or moves with pity, alarm, anguish, etc.: as, a piercing cry.

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

  • adjective Forcibly entering, or adapted to enter, at or by a point; perforating; penetrating; keen; -- used also figuratively.

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

  • verb Present participle of pierce.
  • noun uncountable The action of the verb to pierce
  • noun A hole made in the body so that jewellery/jewelry can be worn through it
  • noun The jewelry itself
  • adjective Anything or anyone that pierces.

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

  • adjective painful as if caused by a sharp instrument
  • adjective having or demonstrating ability to recognize or draw fine distinctions


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From pierce + -ing


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  • So piercing is the sense of intolerable threat that I found myself having nightmares about it last night.

    Don’t Go Down To The Woods « Tales from the Reading Room 2009

  • Although the extremes of body modification have been made more popular in our culture, it has been done for hundreds of years, and ear piercing is one of its oldest kinds.

    SciFi, Fantasy & Horror Collectibles - Part 58 2009

  • She was already desperate for a pee; it pushed against her bladder like a pin piercing her belly.

    Excerpt: The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano 2010

  • Despite its appearance, Mommy's new nostril piercing is not a scary, glittery little bug that has lighted on her face.

    August 17th, 2005 note_to_cat 2005

  • A voice piercing from the deep could not have caused in Camilla a more immediate revulsion of ideas; but she was silent, in her turn, and he led her along the beach, while Mrs. Berlinton, attended by a train of beaux, went to her carriage, where, thus engaged, she contentedly waited.

    Camilla: or, A Picture of Youth 1796

  • Clearly you haven’t actually seen what piercing is like these days.

    All kinds of ouch. 2009

  • I grew up in the Midwest where ear-piercing is associated with adults … girls have to beg permission from their parents to pierce their ears and they’re not likely to get it until they’re (at least) in high school.

    All kinds of ouch. 2009

  • I might have removed it, but Bari had done a poor job in piercing me, as you’d expect from a sun-addled girl without previous piercing experience.

    Requiem For A Ring 2006

  • Stuller, Inc., a gold jewelry manufacturer in Lafayette, La., and a behind-the-scenes giant in the industry, uses a technique called "piercing."

    Valentine's Day Gold Rush Is Still Within Reach J. S. Marcus 2012

  • "I try to let it sound natural and warm, more than drilling too much in the squillo ," he said, referring to the piercing sound singers use to project over an orchestra.

    The Smoldering Tenor David Mermelstein 2011


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