verb (used with object), punc·tu·at·ed, punc·tu·at·ing.

to mark or divide (something written) with punctuation marks in order to make the meaning clear.
to interrupt at intervals: Cheers punctuated the mayor's speech.
to give emphasis or force to; emphasize; underline.

verb (used without object), punc·tu·at·ed, punc·tu·at·ing.

to insert or use marks of punctuation.

Origin of punctuate

1625–35; < Medieval Latin pūnctuātus (past participle of pūnctuāre to point), derivative of Latin pūnctus a pricking; see punctual
Related formspunc·tu·a·tor, nounnon·punc·tu·at·ing, adjectivere·punc·tu·ate, verb (used with object), re·punc·tu·at·ed, re·punc·tu·at·ing.un·punc·tu·at·ed, adjectiveun·punc·tu·at·ing, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for punctuate

Contemporary Examples of punctuate

Historical Examples of punctuate

  • Hattie began rocking, in a rapid staccato, to punctuate her speech.

    Tiverton Tales

    Alice Brown

  • In such cases the compositor should punctuate as he goes along.


    Frederick W. Hamilton

  • There we punctuate the full stop to our inquiries; we have the secret.

  • He banged the table with his riding-crop to punctuate the emphasis.

    The Ghost Breaker

    Charles Goddard

  • When a writer does not know how to punctuate his own language at any point he uses a dash.

    Why We Punctuate

    William Livingston Klein

British Dictionary definitions for punctuate


verb (mainly tr)

(also intr) to insert punctuation marks into (a written text)
to interrupt or insert at frequent intervalsa meeting punctuated by heckling
to give emphasis to
Derived Formspunctuator, noun

Word Origin for punctuate

C17: from Medieval Latin punctuāre to prick, from Latin punctum a prick, from pungere to puncture
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 punctuate

1630s, "to point out," from Medieval Latin punctuatus, past participle of punctuare, from Latin punctus (see point (n.)). Meaning in reference to text, "to have pauses or stops indicated," is from 1818, probably a back-formation from punctuation. Hence, "interrupted at intervals" (1833). Related: Punctuated; punctuating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper