[ peers ]
See synonyms for pierce on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object),pierced, pierc·ing.
  1. to penetrate into or run through (something), as a sharp, pointed dagger, object, or instrument does.

  2. to make a hole or opening in.

  1. to bore into or through; tunnel.

  2. to perforate.

  3. to make (a hole, opening, etc.) by or as by boring or perforating.

  4. to make a way or path into or through: a road that pierces the dense jungle.

  5. to penetrate with the eye or mind; see into or through: She couldn't pierce his thoughts.

  6. to affect sharply with some sensation or emotion, as of cold, pain, or grief: The wind pierced her body. Her words pierced our hearts.

  7. to sound sharply through (the air, stillness, etc.): A pistol shot pierced the night.

verb (used without object),pierced, pierc·ing.
  1. to force or make a way into or through something; penetrate: to pierce to the heart.

Origin of pierce

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

synonym study For pierce

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.

Other words for pierce

Other words from pierce

  • pierce·a·ble, adjective
  • piercer, noun
  • un·pierce·a·ble, adjective

Words Nearby pierce

Other definitions for Pierce (2 of 2)

[ peers ]

  1. Franklin, 1804–69, 14th president of the U.S. 1853–57.

  2. John Robinson, 1910–2002, U.S. electrical engineer: helped develop communications satellites.

  1. a male given name, form of Peter.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use pierce in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for pierce (1 of 2)


/ (pɪəs) /

verb(mainly tr)
  1. to form or cut (a hole) in (something) with or as if with a sharp instrument

  2. to thrust into or penetrate sharply or violently: the thorn pierced his heel

  1. to force (a way, route, etc) through (something)

  2. (of light) to shine through or penetrate (darkness)

  3. (also intr) to discover or realize (something) suddenly or (of an idea) to become suddenly apparent

  4. (of sounds or cries) to sound sharply through (the silence)

  5. to move or affect (a person's emotions, bodily feelings, etc) deeply or sharply: the cold pierced their bones

  6. (intr) to penetrate or be capable of penetrating: piercing cold

Origin of pierce

C13 percen, from Old French percer, ultimately from Latin pertundere, from per through + tundere to strike

Derived forms of pierce

  • pierceable, adjective
  • piercer, noun

British Dictionary definitions for Pierce (2 of 2)


/ (pɪəs) /

  1. 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