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[puhk-er] /ˈpʌk ər/
verb (used with or without object)
to draw or gather into wrinkles or irregular folds, as material or a part of the face; constrict:
Worry puckered his brow.
a wrinkle; an irregular fold.
a puckered part, as of cloth tightly or crookedly sewn.
Archaic. a state of agitation or perturbation.
Origin of pucker
1590-1600; apparently a frequentative form connected with poke2; see -er6 and for the meaning cf. purse
Related forms
puckerer, noun
unpuckered, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for puckered
Historical Examples
  • He puckered his brows and drew down the corners of his mouth.

    The Fortune Hunter Louis Joseph Vance
  • These puckered people are the living, moving chambers of sleeping souls.

    The Book of Khalid Ameen Rihani
  • His sunburned, good-humored face was wrinkled and puckered with amazement.

    Thankful's Inheritance Joseph C. Lincoln
  • Jed's lips twitched for an instant, then he puckered them and began to whistle.

    Shavings Joseph C. Lincoln
  • Ivy's face is all puckered, as if she were on the point of tears.

  • Carolina nodded and her shrivelled monkey face was puckered into a smile.

    Olive in Italy Moray Dalton
  • His forehead was all puckered, and his red mouth set in a pout.

    The Moon and Sixpence W. Somerset Maugham
  • He puckered his face and shook his head and expressed his fears and his doubts.

  • The mouth stands partly open, and the lips are puckered and damp.

    A Book of Burlesques

    H. L. Mencken
  • "And if it's a hoax, you'd better——" and he puckered his brows in thought.

    Lords of the North A. C. Laut
British Dictionary definitions for puckered


to gather or contract (a soft surface such as the skin of the face) into wrinkles or folds, or (of such a surface) to be so gathered or contracted
a wrinkle, crease, or irregular fold
Word Origin
C16: perhaps related to poke², from the creasing into baglike wrinkles
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 puckered



1590s, "prob. earlier in colloquial use" [OED], possibly a frequentative form of pock, dialectal variant of poke "bag, sack" (see poke (n.1)), which would give it the same notion as in purse (v.). "Verbs of this type often shorten or obscure the original vowel; compare clutter, flutter, putter, etc." [Barnhart]. Related: Puckered; puckering.



1726, literal; 1741, figurative; from pucker (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for puckered



: The U.S. ships were taking no chances: as Capt. Mathis told his crew members, one mine is enough to keep the pucker factor up


Fear; state of fright: Don't get into such a pucker (1741+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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