[ per-kuhs ]
/ pərˈkʌs /

verb (used with object)

Medicine/Medical. to strike or tap for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes.
to strike (something) so as to shake or cause a shock to.

verb (used without object)

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

Related forms

un·per·cussed, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for percuss

British Dictionary definitions for percuss


/ (pəˈkʌs) /

verb (tr)

to strike sharply, rapidly, or suddenly
med to tap on (a body surface) with the fingertips or a special hammer to aid diagnosis or for therapeutic purposes

Derived Forms

percussor, noun

Word Origin for percuss

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

Medicine definitions for percuss


[ pər-kŭs ]


To strike or tap firmly; perform percussion.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.