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pounce1

[pouns]
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verb (used without object), pounced, pounc·ing.
  1. to swoop down suddenly and grasp, as a bird does in seizing its prey.
  2. to spring, dash, or come suddenly: Unexpectedly she pounced on the right answer.
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verb (used with object), pounced, pounc·ing.
  1. to seize (prey) suddenly: The bird quickly pounced its prey.
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noun
  1. the claw or talon of a bird of prey.
  2. a sudden swoop, as on an object of prey.
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Origin of pounce1

1375–1425; late Middle English; perhaps akin to punch1
Related formspounc·ing·ly, adverb

Synonyms

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5. leap, lunge, spring.

pounce2

[pouns]
verb (used with object), pounced, pounc·ing.
  1. to emboss (metal) by hammering on an instrument applied on the reverse side.
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Origin of pounce2

1350–1400; Middle English; perhaps identical with pounce1

pounce3

[pouns]
noun
  1. a fine powder, as of cuttlebone, formerly used to prevent ink from spreading in writing, or to prepare parchment for writing.
  2. a fine powder, often of charcoal, used in transferring a design through a perforated pattern.
  3. Also called pounce bag, pounce box. a small bag filled with pounce and struck against a perforated design.
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verb (used with object), pounced, pounc·ing.
  1. to sprinkle, smooth, or prepare with pounce.
  2. to trace (a design) with pounce.
  3. to finish the surface of (hats) by rubbing with sandpaper or the like.
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Origin of pounce3

1700–10; < French ponceLatin pūmicem, accusative of pūmex pumice
Related formspounc·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for pounce

pounce1

verb
  1. (intr; often foll by on or upon) to spring or swoop, as in capturing prey
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noun
  1. the act of pouncing; a spring or swoop
  2. the claw of a bird of prey
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Derived Formspouncer, noun

Word Origin

C17: apparently from Middle English punson pointed tool; see puncheon ²

pounce2

verb
  1. (tr) to emboss (metal) by hammering from the reverse side
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Word Origin

C15 pounsen, from Old French poinçonner to stamp; perhaps the same as pounce 1

pounce3

noun
  1. a very fine resinous powder, esp of cuttlefish bone, formerly used to dry ink or sprinkled over parchment or unsized writing paper to stop the ink from running
  2. a fine powder, esp of charcoal, that is tapped through perforations in paper corresponding to the main lines of a design in order to transfer the design to another surface
  3. (as modifier)a pounce box
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verb (tr)
  1. to dust (paper) with pounce
  2. to transfer (a design) by means of pounce
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Derived Formspouncer, noun

Word Origin

C18: from Old French ponce, from Latin pūmex pumice
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 pounce

v.

1680s, originally "to seize with the pounces," from Middle English pownse (n.) "hawk's claw" (see pounce (n.)). Meaning "to jump or fall upon suddenly" is from 1812. Figurative sense of "lay hold of eagerly" is from 1840. Related: Pounced; pouncing.

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n.

"claw of a bird of prey," late 15c., pownse, probably from Old French ponchon "lance, javelin; spine, quill" (Modern French poinçon; see punch (v.)). So called for being the "claws that punch" holes in things. In falconry, the heel claw is a talon, and others are pounces. Meaning "an act of jumping or falling upon" is from 1825. In Middle English also the name of a tool for punching holes or embossing metal (late 14c.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper