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[peerst] /pɪərst/
punctured or perforated, as to form a decorative design:
a pendant in pierced copper.
(of the ear) having the lobe punctured, as for earrings.
(of an earring) made to be attached, as by a post or wire, through the hole in a pierced ear lobe.
Heraldry. (of a charge) open at the center to reveal the field:
a lozenge pierced.
Origin of pierced
Middle English word dating back to 1300-50; See origin at pierce, -ed2
Related forms
unpierced, adjective


[peers] /pɪərs/
verb (used with object), pierced, piercing.
to penetrate into or run through (something), as a sharp, pointed dagger, object, or instrument does.
to make a hole or opening in.
to bore into or through; tunnel.
to perforate.
to make (a hole, opening, etc.) by or as by boring or perforating.
to make a way or path into or through:
a road that pierces the dense jungle.
to penetrate with the eye or mind; see into or through:
She couldn't pierce his thoughts.
to affect sharply with some sensation or emotion, as of cold, pain, or grief:
The wind pierced her body. Her words pierced our hearts.
to sound sharply through (the air, stillness, etc.):
A pistol shot pierced the night.
verb (used without object), pierced, piercing.
to force or make a way into or through something; penetrate:
to pierce to the heart.
1250-1300; Middle English percen < Old French perc(i)er < Vulgar Latin *pertūsiāre, verbal derivative of Latin pertūsus, past participle of pertundere to bore a hole through, perforate, equivalent to per- per- + tundere to strike, beat
Related forms
pierceable, adjective
piercer, noun
unpierceable, adjective
1. enter, puncture. 8. touch, move, strike, thrill.
Synonym Study
1.Pierce, penetrate suggest the action of one object passing through another or making a way through and into another. The terms are used both concretely and figuratively. To pierce is to perforate quickly, as by stabbing; it suggests the use of a sharp, pointed instrument which is impelled by force: to pierce the flesh with a knife; a scream pierces one's ears. Penetrate suggests a slow or difficult movement: No ordinary bullet can penetrate an elephant's hide; to penetrate the depths of one's ignorance. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for pierced
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • They were eyes that pierced his forehead, that laid bare his thoughts.

    Woman Triumphant Vicente Blasco Ibaez
  • Platycnemism and the pierced olecranon run in groups for a time.

    Folkways William Graham Sumner
  • Now, it chanced that as he went Zinti pierced his foot with a large thorn so that he was only able to travel slowly.

    Swallow H. Rider Haggard
  • With an awl that he took from his belt Brock pierced Loki's lips.

    The Children of Odin Padraic Colum
  • Shann gazed down at the green water, opaque, not to be pierced to the depths by human sight.

    Storm Over Warlock Andre Norton
British Dictionary definitions for pierced


verb (mainly transitive)
to form or cut (a hole) in (something) with or as if with a sharp instrument
to thrust into or penetrate sharply or violently: the thorn pierced his heel
to force (a way, route, etc) through (something)
(of light) to shine through or penetrate (darkness)
(also intransitive) to discover or realize (something) suddenly or (of an idea) to become suddenly apparent
(of sounds or cries) to sound sharply through (the silence)
to move or affect (a person's emotions, bodily feelings, etc) deeply or sharply: the cold pierced their bones
(intransitive) to penetrate or be capable of penetrating: piercing cold
Derived Forms
pierceable, adjective
piercer, noun
Word Origin
C13 percen, from Old French percer, ultimately from Latin pertundere, from per through + tundere to strike


Franklin. 1804–69, US statesman; 14th president of the US (1853–57)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for pierced

c.1400, past participle adjective from pierce (v.).



late 13c. "make a hole in; force one's way through," from Anglo-French perser, Old French percier "pierce, transfix, drive through" (12c., Modern French percer), probably from Vulgar Latin *pertusiare, frequentative of Latin pertusus, past participle of pertundere "to thrust or bore through," from per- "through" (see per) + tundere "to beat, pound," from PIE *tund-, from root *(s)teu- "to push, strike, knock, beat, thrust" (see obtuse). Related: Pierced; piercing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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