- loud or shrill, as the quality of a voice.
- extremely cold or bitter: a piercing wind.
- appearing to gaze deeply or penetratingly into something: piercing eyes.
- perceptive or aware; acute: a piercing mind.
- sarcastic or caustic; cutting: piercing remarks.
Origin of piercing
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- 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.
- to force or make a way into or through something; penetrate: to pierce to the heart.
Origin of pierce
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for piercing
“Hell yeah,” he says with a smile and a piercing, blue-eyed stare.My Bizarre Night With James Deen, Libertarian Porn Star
November 12, 2014
Thunderous sounds announce its arrival, piercing the silence that accompanies sundown in the swampland near Boystown, Liberia.Rage Against the Ebola Crematorium
November 11, 2014
Sensitive subjects are met with a short burst of laughter, and serious answers are sandwiched between a piercing gaze.A Belgian Prince, Gorillas, Guerrillas & the Future of the Congo
November 6, 2014
One of the most piercing observations of the article is that while those who had worked with him trusted Welby, no one knew him.UK’s No 1 Churchman Doubts Existence of God: The Archbishop of Canterbury Thinks Deep When Running With His Dog
September 18, 2014
His piercing azure eyes are complemented by a new addition to his appearance: a septum piercing in his nose.‘Boyhood’ Star Ellar Coltrane: An Astonishing Debut 12 Years in the Making
July 11, 2014
Yet, every word had in it the piercing, horrible sting of truth.Within the Law
Our disaster was too awful, and the pathos of that solitary survivor too piercing.The Comrade In White
W. H. Leathem
Daylight had not yet succeeded in piercing through the night clouds.My Double Life
His face was stern, his nose beak-like, and his small eyes grey and piercing.City of Endless Night
A second cry arose, piercing the silence with needle-like shrillness.White Fang
- (of a sound) sharp and shrill
- (of eyes or a look) intense and penetrating
- (of an emotion) strong and deeply affecting
- (of cold or wind) intense or biting
- the art or practice of piercing body parts for the insertion of jewellery
- an instance of the piercing of a body part
- to form or cut (a hole) in (something) with or as if with a sharp instrument
- to thrust into or penetrate sharply or violentlythe thorn pierced his heel
- to force (a way, route, etc) through (something)
- (of light) to shine through or penetrate (darkness)
- (also intr) 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 sharplythe cold pierced their bones
- (intr) to penetrate or be capable of penetratingpiercing cold
- Franklin. 1804–69, US statesman; 14th president of the US (1853–57)
Word Origin and History for piercing
in reference to cold, sound, etc., early 15c., present participle adjective from pierce (v.). Figuratively, of pain, grief, etc., from late 14c. Related: Piercingly.
late 14c., verbal noun 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.