[ per-kuhs ]
See synonyms for percuss on
verb (used with object)
  1. Medicine/Medical. to strike or tap for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes.

  2. to strike (something) so as to shake or cause a shock to.

verb (used without object)
  1. Medicine/Medical. to strike the surface of a part of the body for diagnostic purposes.

Origin of percuss

1550–60; <Latin percussus, past participle of percutere to strike hard, beat, equivalent to per-per- + -cut(ere), combining form of quatere to shake (see quash) + -tus past participle suffix, with tt>ss

Other words from percuss

  • un·per·cussed, adjective

Words Nearby percuss Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use percuss in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for percuss


/ (pəˈkʌs) /

  1. to strike sharply, rapidly, or suddenly

  2. med to tap on (a body surface) with the fingertips or a special hammer to aid diagnosis or for therapeutic purposes

Origin of percuss

C16: from Latin percutere, from per- through + quatere to shake

Derived forms of percuss

  • percussor, noun

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