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pierce

[peers]
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.
  3. to bore into or through; tunnel.
  4. to perforate.
  5. to make (a hole, opening, etc.) by or as by boring or perforating.
  6. to make a way or path into or through: a road that pierces the dense jungle.
  7. to penetrate with the eye or mind; see into or through: She couldn't pierce his thoughts.
  8. to affect sharply with some sensation or emotion, as of cold, pain, or grief: The wind pierced her body. Her words pierced our hearts.
  9. to sound sharply through (the air, stillness, etc.): A pistol shot pierced the night.
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verb (used without object), pierced, pierc·ing.
  1. to force or make a way into or through something; penetrate: to pierce to the heart.
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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
Related formspierce·a·ble, adjectivepierc·er, nounun·pierce·a·ble, adjective

Synonyms

Synonym study

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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for piercer

Historical Examples

  • They were not long about beginning, and Mars piercer of shields opened the battle.

    The Iliad

    Homer

  • It must be a piercer if it finds its way through your heart, said Mr. Sikes.

  • "It must be a piercer if it finds its way through your heart," said Mr. Sikes.

  • She was called Jigerdilla, which signifies "the piercer of hearts."

  • The chief enemy of the young oyster is a species of whelk, known in France as the bigourneau, dog whelk, or piercer.


British Dictionary definitions for piercer

pierce

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 violentlythe thorn pierced his heel
  3. to force (a way, route, etc) through (something)
  4. (of light) to shine through or penetrate (darkness)
  5. (also intr) to discover or realize (something) suddenly or (of an idea) to become suddenly apparent
  6. (of sounds or cries) to sound sharply through (the silence)
  7. to move or affect (a person's emotions, bodily feelings, etc) deeply or sharplythe cold pierced their bones
  8. (intr) to penetrate or be capable of penetratingpiercing cold
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Derived Formspierceable, adjectivepiercer, noun

Word Origin

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

Pierce

noun
  1. Franklin. 1804–69, US statesman; 14th president of the US (1853–57)
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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

Word Origin and History for piercer

n.

early 15c., agent noun from pierce (v.).

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pierce

v.

late 13c. "make a hole in; force one's way through," from Anglo-French perser, Old French percier "pierce, transfix, drive through" (12c., Modern French percer), probably from Vulgar Latin *pertusiare, frequentative of Latin pertusus, past participle of pertundere "to thrust or bore through," from per- "through" (see per) + tundere "to beat, pound," from PIE *tund-, from root *(s)teu- "to push, strike, knock, beat, thrust" (see obtuse). Related: Pierced; piercing.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper