loud or shrill, as the quality of a voice.
extremely cold or bitter: a piercing wind.
appearing to gaze deeply or penetratingly into something: piercing eyes.
perceptive or aware; acute: a piercing mind.
sarcastic or caustic; cutting: piercing remarks.

Origin of piercing

late Middle English word dating back to 1375–1425; see origin at pierce, -ing2
Related formspierc·ing·ly, adverbpierc·ing·ness, nounun·pierc·ing, adjective

Synonyms for piercing

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for piercingly

Contemporary Examples of piercingly

Historical Examples of piercingly

  • Yet I continued to need to share Christ with humanity, piercingly, pressingly.

    The Prodigal Returns

    Lilian Staveley

  • We should have been most comfortable but for the piercingly cold draughts.

    The Last Voyage

    Lady (Annie Allnutt) Brassey

  • Zane,” he replied, piercingly, “what you need for your hat is a head!

  • Her eyes were piercingly bright and on her lips was etched a sardonic smile.

    Old Fogy

    James Huneker

  • “And piercingly cold, my dear John,” interrupted Mrs Sudberry.

    Freaks on the Fells

    R.M. Ballantyne

British Dictionary definitions for piercingly



(of a sound) sharp and shrill
(of eyes or a look) intense and penetrating
(of an emotion) strong and deeply affecting
(of cold or wind) intense or biting


the art or practice of piercing body parts for the insertion of jewellery
an instance of the piercing of a body part
Derived Formspiercingly, adverb
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 piercingly



in reference to cold, sound, etc., early 15c., present participle adjective from pierce (v.). Figuratively, of pain, grief, etc., from late 14c. Related: Piercingly.



late 14c., verbal noun from pierce (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper