Origin of pierce
synonym study for pierce
OTHER WORDS FROM piercepierce·a·ble, adjectivepiercer, nounun·pierce·a·ble, adjective
Words nearby pierce
Other definitions for pierce (2 of 2)
What does pierce mean?
This sense of the word is associated with needles and other thin, sharp objects used to pierce surfaces. To pierce someone’s ear is to make a hole in it with a needle so that an earring can be inserted. This is called a piercing.
The word can be used in the context of someone doing the piercing, as in You will need to pierce the skin with this needle, or in the context of an object piercing something, as in The needle pierced the skin. Things that have been pierced can be described with the adjective pierced, as in pierced ears.
Things that pierce aren’t always sharp. Sometimes, things pierce by penetrating with force. For example, bullets and artillery shells that are designed to pierce protective coverings and shields are described as armor-piercing.
More broadly, pierce can mean to make a hole, opening, tunnel, or path into or through something, as in The mountain is pierced by a long tunnel.
These literal senses of pierce are the basis of several figurative senses of the word.
Pierce can mean to see into or through, as if penetrating something with the eye or mind, as in Her stare pierced my soul.
It can also mean to affect intensely or sharply, as in The wind pierced my face or Your writing needs to pierce the reader’s heart. An insult can pierce you in this way—meaning it can cut you deeply.
Similarly, shrill sounds can be said to pierce your ears, the air, or the stillness, and light can be said to pierce the darkness.
The word piercing can also be used as an adjective to describe things that are intense, penetrating, or sharp in a figurative way, as in a piercing wind, a piercing scream, a piercing stare, or a piercing remark.
Example: This tarp is pretty thick, so to pierce it you’ll have to really stab the stake through it forcefully.
Where does pierce come from?
The first records of the word pierce come from the 1200s. It ultimately comes from the Latin verb pertundere, meaning “to bore a hole through” or “to perforate.”
Pierce can be used in many different contexts, both literally and figuratively, but it’s almost always used to indicate that something has gone through something else. In a literal sense, this usually means that a hole or opening has been made, at least temporarily, such as in the skin or in a piece of fabric. In a figurative sense, this usually means that something has deeply penetrated or intensely affected something else.
Did you know ... ?
What are some other forms of pierce?
What are some synonyms for pierce?
What are some words that share a root or word element with pierce?
What are some words that often get used in discussing pierce?
How is pierce used in real life?
Pierce is very commonly used in both literal and figurative contexts and in all kinds of situations.
i wanna pierce my face again but idk where :/
— Jake! (@JakeWebber9) August 30, 2020
I love the feeling of the winter wind piercing my skin
— Anthony La Parry (@ajlaparry) March 2, 2016
As New York recovers from being the epicenter of the worst global pandemic in a century, two bright lights pierce the sky above Manhattan as a reminder of another past tragedy which too changed the fabric of this city forever. pic.twitter.com/1dVnhwZEpS
— Colm Flynn (@ColmFlynn1) September 5, 2020
Try using pierce!
Which of the following things can be said to pierce?
D. all of the above
How to use pierce in a sentence
Trains generate so much noise that the deep waves can pierce through.Vibrations from trains could help seismologists peer underground|Rahul Rao|February 1, 2021|Popular-Science
The outage shows the need for backup plans for businesses and schools relying so heavily on it, Pierce said.Big Internet outages hit the East Coast, causing issues for Verizon, Zoom, Slack, Gmail|Rachel Lerman|January 26, 2021|Washington Post
Pierce canceled his inaugural ball and entered office grieving and exhausted.Not all presidents’ dance skills are created equal|Bonnie Berkowitz, Joanne Lee|January 21, 2021|Washington Post
The Rams established control after the break, piercing the Mason defense for easy baskets and forcing the hosts into turnovers and missed shots.Chaos in D.C. sparked an important conversation before George Mason’s loss to rival VCU|Steven Goff|January 7, 2021|Washington Post
Its leaves produce sugars by photosynthesis, but instead of roots, it has structures that pierce the host tree’s vital tissues to suck out nutrients and water.
She had low-grade blood poisoning in her ear from the pin she used to pierce it.‘My Crazy Love’ Reveals the Craziest Lies People Tell for Love|Kevin Fallon|November 18, 2014|DAILY BEAST
PIERCE BROSNAN The Irish actor and ex-James Bond—whose father was Scottish—is cool either way.Celebs Pick Sides on Scotland Referendum: Sean Connery, Andy Murray, Prince Harry, and More|Marlow Stern|September 19, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Murphy rarely mentions the law in his appearances in this district running from north of Palm Beach to Fort Pierce.
Pierce sounded genuinely anguished about the unintended consequences of the bill he supported.Republicans Go From Anti-Gay to No Way on Arizona Bill|Eleanor Clift|February 25, 2014|DAILY BEAST
I thought you were a hoot on Community as the lawyer for the estate of Pierce.Kentucky’s Finest Antihero: Walton Goggins on Justified’s Chameleon Villain|Allen Barra|February 11, 2014|DAILY BEAST
If the hunter venture to come close to such a monster, and his dagger fail to pierce the vital spot, there is no help for him.Alila, Our Little Philippine Cousin|Mary Hazelton Wade
Loftily pierce the tall white minarets into the quivering heavens, while the solemn cypress throws its shade below.
But one morning the sky was gray and gloomy, and the sun could not pierce through the heavy clouds.The Later Cave-Men|Katharine Elizabeth Dopp
The vociferous tones pierce my ears, and my heart bleeds at his meaningless declamation.
No cry of tormented soul shall pierce these walls of stone, much less the heart of man.